Belgium accuses China of cyberattacks against Federal Ministries

Belgium accuses China of cyberattacks against Federal Ministries
King Philippe - Filip of Belgium and Mr Li Hongzhong, Secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party pictured on the third day of a royal visit to China, Monday 22 June 2015, in Wuhan, China. Credit: Belga / Yorick Jansens

The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused Chinese hackers of committing cyberattacks against the Federal Defence and Interior Ministries, and is now calling on Chinese authorities to take the necessary measures to investigate and handle the situation.

"Belgium strongly condemns these malicious cyber-attacks, which contravene the standards of responsible state conduct endorsed by all United Nations member states," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The cyber-attacks against the Belgian Government "have considerably affected our sovereignty, our democracy, our security and our society".

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Belgium's Cybersecurity Center has previously suggested that the attacks against its Interior had the mark of an intelligence gathering operation.

Chinese hackers have had access to the Ministry of the Interior for two years, while the attacks on the Ministry of Defence in 2021 resulted in the Ministry's network being cut off from the internet for weeks and its staff not being able to communicate via email.

Vulnerable online

Belgian media have accused the Ministry of Defence of an insufficient cybersecurity protocol after it bought hundreds of Huawei wifi routers at the start of 2022.

Huawei equipment is considered a security threat with various governments, including in the UK, deciding to ban the company from working on its 5G rollout due to concerns of security breaches by China.

In addition, Belgium's Defence has purchased video surveillance equipment from Chinese companies, Hikvision and Dahua, which have glitches in their system and could be easy to hack.

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