Belgium’s intelligence agency warns travellers against foreign espionnage
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Belgium’s intelligence agency warns travellers against foreign espionnage

A gifted USB drive may contain more than promotional video clips, the intelligence agency warned. Credit: Pixabay

Belgians travelling abroad should take precautions to avoid becoming the target of foreign espionage and surveillance efforts, the state security agency warned on Monday.

The State Security Service, Belgium said spying was too often “wrongly” thought of as a thing of the past, warning that the threat of espionage had “never been greater.”

Through an online brochure, the federal intelligence and security agency urged Belgians going abroad to take the necessary measures to ensure their data is secure.

“The target group are Belgians who travel and are active in the public sector and business world,” the agency said, according to Le Soir.

The information brochure is the latest move by the federal state security agency to increase its public visibility and to communicate more strategically, an effort marked by the recent launch of its official website.

Citing numerous spying schemes and devices, and noting the internationalisation of professional relationships, the brochure urges travellers to “not be naïve,” adding that a diplomat, a researcher, or a journalist “can all have their own agenda.”

“Hotel rooms with built-in microphones or cameras, curious taxi drivers or interesting encounters are not all the stuff of fiction,” the brochure reads, adding: “business gifts are not always what they seem — a USB drive may contain more than promotional videos.”

The document advises travellers to remain wary and follow standard precautions regarding password and personal data protection, even in destinations inside the European Union or to destinations referred to as “friendly.

Additional precautions recommended by the agency include avoiding using public Wi-Fi networks or using public USB ports to charge a device, as well as removing the battery or phone card if one plans to leave their phone behind.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times