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Brussels is ‘nest of espionage’ says security expert

16:00 03/11/2017

According to Ghent University security expert Kenneth Lasoen, Brussels is a hotbed for spies and hackers from Russia, China and the US. Lasoen’s comment in daily newspaper De Standaard are in response to the latest report submitted by Comité I, the regulatory agency responsible for Belgium’s State Security Services and military intelligence.

According to the sternly worded report, Belgium’s intelligence services are not doing anything to counter economic espionage. It also revealed that the hacking incident of a Proximus subsidiary in 2013 by the UK and the US was never properly followed up.

“At no time, even after the public was alerted to the situation, was an analysis carried out to determine if these interceptions had any possible scientific or economic consequences for Belgium,” the report reads.

The committee is requesting an information platform to help tackle economic espionage. It also said that cybersecurity needed to be improved.

According to Lasoen, Belgium has not built up a culture of digital security. And yet, with the presence of Nato, the EU institutions and many international agencies, Brussels is a hugely valuable source of information for spies.

“Consider all the defence firms that are here because of the presence of Nato,” said Lasoen. “Highly valuable economic and political information is exchanged here. That makes Brussels a nest of espionage.”

Written by Lisa Bradshaw