Belgian data security expert Jean-Jacque Quisquater has been the target of a hacking attack.The information came up during the investigation led by Belgian authorities into the attacks against Belgacom, the state-owned telco, as revealed by media reports on NSA leaked files from Edward Snowden.
Given the fact that the GCHQ was the main organization in the reports dating back to September 2013, the British intelligence agency is the one that’s also being suspected of hacking into the computers of Quisquater.
According to investigators, his computer fell into the hands of hackers in the same manner as Balgacom’s system. It seems that the professor believed he was replying to a LinkedIn message, while in fact he was actually directed to a copycat website that sent back malware to his computer.
In a message sent to Gigaom, Quisquater said that he was warned about the attack by the Belgian federal police. He’s not very surprised he was targeted. “There are many hypotheses (about 12 or 15) but it is certainly an industrial espionage plus a surveillance of people working about civilian cryptography,” the professor said.
Jean-Jacques Quisquater has signed 17 patents and he’s one of the big experts in the field.
This isn’t the first time that the intelligence agencies, both the NSA and the GCHQ, are accused of industrial espionage although the lawmakers swear by the fact that the agencies are only working to stop terrorism.
Of course, like many other regular civilians who were targeted by the mass surveillance practices, chances that the professor is in any way involved in terrorism activities are slim to none.
When it comes to cryptography, the intelligence community has shown particular interest. It’s been reported several times so far that the NSA has built backdoors into various pieces of software in order to weaken encryption.