back to article Latest Snowden reveal: It was GCHQ that hacked Belgian telco giant

Leaked documents provide evidence that GCHQ planted malware in the systems of Belgacom, the largest telecommunications company in Belgium. According to slides obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and supplied to German newspaper Der Spiegel , the attack targeted several Belgacom employees and involved planting an …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If we do not respect other nations infrastructure, we have no moral high ground when they want to come into ours.

    This worsens security concerns and will only get worse.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      /sarcasm

      But you should have nothing to fear as you have done nothing wrong! They are only after people who will do harm! It is all for your own protection!

      1. breakfast

        Those with nothing to hide

        "Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from Whistleblowers."

        1. WatAWorld

          Re: Those with nothing to hide

          "Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from Whistleblowers."

          Why is this the first time I'm hearing that. We should all use that a lot.

          1. Steve Knox
            Meh

            Re: Those with nothing to hide

            "Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from Whistleblowers."

            Why is this the first time I'm hearing that. We should all use that a lot.

            Probably because the spy agencies are happy to admit they have something to hide. In fact, they'd say they did even if they didn't, if only to muddy the waters.

        2. gabor1

          Re: Those with nothing to hide

          Let me fix that for you.

          "Those who have nothing illegal they have done to hide have nothing to hear from whistleblowers. "

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      I'm felling a bit Amdocs about all of this.

      But as a US citizen, you should cherish the fact there will be a trunk line linking you not only to friendly people in Virginia, but also to friendly people abroad.

  2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Pirate

    Why would Belgacom not play ball?

    ".....If GCHQ was indeed the agency concerned then this investigation is unlikely to go anywhere and the most that can be expected is some sort of diplomatic complaint from Belgium to the UK, its EU and Nato (sic) partner....." Assuming we accept slides as some form of proof (were the slides a report on an actual attack, conjecture, or just a paper exercise?), you'd have to assume that Belgacom - majority owner being NATO partner the Belgian government - didn't say "Oui" when asked politely for a backdoor. Of course, it could be the spooks couldn't ask for a backdoor as BICS is actually a combine of non-NATO Swisscom's and Chinese-friendly South Africa's MTN's international cable businesses. Also, the fact that BICS's cables outside Europe are actually third-party leases - meaning hacking BICS potentially opened non-European, non-NATO, global cable companies to eavesdropping - probably was a factor too. So the question should actually be did the Belgian government not only condone but assist in the hack?

    1. BlueGreen

      Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant

      > Assuming we accept slides as some form of proof

      I'm beginning to wonder what' you would actually accept as proof here, or anywhere that disagrees with your opinion. Let's go back in time a little to <http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/2/2013/06/24/snowden_china_carriers_hacked_nsa/#c_1874316>

      Bluegreen says: "In the Un i ted Kingdom, GCHQ is specifically required by law (and as and when tasked by the British government) to intercept foreign communications "in the interests of the economic well­being of the United e K i ngdom...."

      To which Plump and Bleaty responds "Again, no proof that ANY actual commercial secrets have been stolen by GCHQ"

      The article here says " leaked slides describe the exercise as already being a success and close to achieving its ultimate goal"

      And also "In a statement issued earlier this week, Belgacom admitted its internal systems were compromised"

      and "It added that the intrusion is under investigation by Belgian law enforcement."

      and "supplied the following short statement which clarifies that Belgacom filed a criminal complaint in July"

      And your response is "were the slides a report on an actual attack, conjecture, or just a paper exercise?". It would appear to be none of those three, Plumps.

      You'd rather waste everyone's bandwidth than admit you were wrong (and maybe even learn from it). Seems you phsically just cannot.

      Even by ovine standards you are not a very intelligent sheep, Plumps, but you sure make a lot of noise. Most of it condescension and denial.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant

        @Bluegreen: When you quote yourself in rhetoric, you're without a doubt taking it too personally.

        Are slides proof? Probably not enough for a conviction, but enough for logically figuring the truth out.

        Is Belgium hiding some degree of guilt? If they're not, they really need to reorganize their security, because they would literally be "clueless" at a government level.

        1. BlueGreen

          Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

          > When you quote yourself in rhetoric, you're without a doubt taking it too personally.

          Touche, thanks.

          > Are slides proof?

          Matt used the word previously so I'm returning the favour. However there is no absolute 'proof' in the real world, merely a preponderance of evidence such as to tip one's scales to a personal definite conclusion, depending on how one's personal scales are weighted by each. I'm just puzzled by matt's apparent decision to drop a handful of neutronium on one side of the balance and expect everyone to do the same, then abuse them when they don't.

          1. WatAWorld

            Would GCHQ formally admitting they did this be sufficent proof for everyone?

            Would GCHQ formally admitting they did this be proof?

            I mean, there is that Commonwealth Conference Snowden said the bugged, against just slides.

            But after the slides didn't GCHQ pretty much admit the spied for economic advantage?

            It is GCHQ, not the NSA, foreign industrial espionage and spying for economic interests is inside their public charter.

            The NSA's General Alexander has basically admitted stuff from Snowden's slides too, PRISM, gathering metadata on US citizens and so on.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

            "I'm just puzzled by matt's apparent decision to drop a handful of neutronium on one side of the balance and expect everyone to do the same, then abuse them when they don't."

            That, I'm afraid is Matt's normal modus operandii, visible in all the threads where he gets into an argument. Which is a pity, because he clearly knows a few things and contributes interesting views, but then makes the twin and repeated errors of believing that he is infallible, and is then abusive to people who choose to differ.

            Other more minor of his crimes include that he will insist on concatenating quotes with his reply, making it difficult to read what he's saying, an instinctive downvoting of any post that he doesn't agree with (rather than apply downvotes selectively and on dismerit as most of us do), and I'm also suspicious that he's using multiple Reg user IDs to do pathetic things like contribute a couple of downvotes.

            All of this is within your gift to sort out, Mr Bryant.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: AC Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

              "....That, I'm afraid is Matt's normal modus operandii...." <Yawn> As you shall sow, so you shall reap. If you and your numpty chums stopped trying to pass off your paranoid delusions and conjecture as facts then I wouldn't need to point out the stupidity of unquestioningly accepting paranoid delusions and conjecture. After all, if your arguments were so sound and convincing you would have no problem defending them, which you obviously have as you (and the other sheeple) have AGAIN swerved off into moaning "oh, he's so mean to me". TBH, grow a pair. If you truly want to baaaah-lieve what you post then why do you have such probelms actually PROVING what you state are actually facts?

              "....an instinctive downvoting of any post that he doesn't agree with....and I'm also suspicious that he's using multiple Reg user IDs......" LOL, I'm just going to chalk that one down to your paranoia. Unless you have some form of access to El Reg's voting system you have SFA clue as to how I vote or downvote, thanks. You obviously struggle with the fact that more than one person might disagree with what you have been spoonfed as The Truth, so much so you would rather baaaaaah-lieve it is just one "nasty" opposer making wrongful use of the voting tools rather than face up to the fact your POV is not universally accepted. If I was using multiple accounts then El Reg would know and have said so, it already infringes on their Ts&Cs, IIRC. I note you somehow fail to think such an accusation might apply to those that vote with your bleated POV, presumably because you think that your "righteous" views give you and the other Faithful some form of unquestionable moral superiority and render you unable to "cheat"? LOL, this is my surprised face, honest.

              "....All of this is within your gift to sort out...." The problem is it is probably outside your "gift" to actually post a coherent statement of your own POV as you have no capability for independent thought, as demonstrated by your argument-free post. Which, FYI, I did downvote just the once for it's complete lack of relevant content. Enjoy!

              1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: AC Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

                Why all this talk about sheep?

                As a welsh man, you are getting me all excited!

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: AC Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

                Matt, the usual rude garbage, proving exactly the point I was making earlier. I must say you seem to be getting worse - there's times of late when your responses look like the mad, angry prose of somebody with mental health issues.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: AC Re: AC Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

                  "....proving exactly the point....." LOL, once agin we have the unproven "proof", and once again you avoid the actual thread subject by trying to drag it off into the personal. Face it, your lame tactic has been busted, your attempt to poison the well has been exposed, and you have lost twice over. Maybe you should talk to someone about your obsessive behaviour.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: AC AC Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

                    "once again you avoid the actual thread subject by trying to drag it off into the personal"

                    What the f*** are you smoking, Bryant? You routinely drift off on tangential topics, you always personalise your responses, and seem to be pathologically abusive, and then you trot this sanctimonious shite out?

                    If there's a single individual round these parts suffering from some form of OCD, it's you.

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                      FAIL

                      Re: Absolute Crap Re: AC AC Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant

                      Gee, is that you avoiding the topic AGAIN? Now, why in Earth would you be so anxious not to discuss the topic? Oh, could it be because you keep getting your a$$ handed yo you on a plate every time you do try an express an actual relevant argument? ROFLMAO! At least you are 100% consistent in your failure.

                      Seeing as you and your fellow sheeple are completely u noble to show proof that GCHQ actually did hack Belgacom, why don't you please try and explain (for amusement value) why no other party could possibly have been the ones to plant the malware in question? LOL!

                    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
                      Happy

                      Re: AC AC Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

                      " If there's a single individual round these parts suffering from some form of OCD, it's you."

                      BOG OFF!

                      I'm El Reg's most OCD afflicted commentard!

              3. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                Re: AC Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

                Children, children. Fewer of the ad homs or I'll start trimming out posts. Play nicely.

          3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant @MyBackDoor

            "....However there is no absolute 'proof' in the real world, merely a preponderance of evidence such as to tip one's scales to a personal definite conclusion....." Your scales have been deliberately bent. You also don't want to admit the measure that counts is legality and proving it in a court of law. Which is really amusing because when it is cretins like the Anonyputzs doing crimes I'm sure you're scales are miraculously bent the other way. At least you provide plenty of unintended amusement.

            ".... I'm just puzzled by matt's apparent decision...." Don't worry, you're not the first sheeple that's been surprised - they tend to discourage independent thought in your type of flock, so it's a bit of a shock to their system when they meet someone that doesn't just roll over and swallow whatever they are told is the hip'n'trendy POV. When you grow up and get some wordly experience you may learn that.

            ".....then abuse them when they don't." Sorry, but when I run into someone as deliberately blinkered as you it's hard not to poke fun at them. But I can see why you would want to drag this argument off into the personal seeing as it is yet another thread where your statements of "fact" have been thoroughly debunked. Try again, lambikins.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: BoringGreen Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball? @matt bryant

        "....Bluegreen says: "In the United Kingdom, GCHQ is specifically required by law (and as and when tasked by the British government) to intercept foreign communications "in the interests of the economic well­being of the United Kingdom...."....." Seeing as they probably didn't cover it in your last copy of Sheep Fanciers Monthly, I suppose it's news to you that AQ top numpty Ayman al-Zawahiri spent the 9/11 anniversary desperately begging islamist nutters everywhere to attack Western economic targets (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24083314)? He has to ask "lone wolves" because TWOT has been very successful in trashing his supporter networks in the West, especially i disrupting their financial means (thanks, VISA!). But economic attacks has kind of been a theme for AZ, going right back to AQ's original attempts to bomb the World Trade Center. Indeed, fighting TWOT itself is a constant drain on the UK economy, so using coms interception as one way to find the isalmsist nutters (and other fruitcakes and criminals) is actually makes economic as well as security sense. Once again, you have been herded to the assumption that "economic" has to mean "commercial", i.e., capitalist, rather than state interest.

        "....To which Plump and Bleaty responds "Again, no proof that ANY actual commercial secrets have been stolen by GCHQ"....." Indeed, you still have not proved (a) that GCHQ was the party responsible for the malware infecting Belgacom's systems, or (b) that any material was spied upon by GCHQ, either for commercial reasons or otherwise. You have made a lot of CONJECTURE based on Snowden's latest leak, but that is all it is. Personally, I don't doubt that GCHQ are all over any bit of cable and system they can get their mitts on, but that is an OPINION rather than a FACT. You are trying to state a fact. You need conclusive evidence to state a fact, which these slides are not.

        I will try and put it in the type of setting you may understand, given your fascination with alternate realities like TV rather than factual situations - your claiming GCHQ MUST HAVE hacked Belgacom just because a third party said they had an interest and motive in doing so is like saying Sue Ellen MUST HAVE shot JR. Then again, you were probably still just a drug-addled glimmer in your Mom's eye back in 1980. Sorry, I can't think of an alternative example with the kind of kids shows you probably watch.

        "....The article here says " leaked slides describe the exercise as already being a success and close to achieving its ultimate goal"...." Again, being "close" is no cigar - there could be any number of other parties hacking into Belgacom that may have beaten GCHQ to the punch. Once again, all you have is conjecture. I could make just as good a case for the FSB, Chinese Army hackers, the Anonyputzs or just skiddies to have hacked the Belgacom systems.

        "....It would appear to be none of those three, Plumps. You'd rather waste everyone's bandwidth than admit you were wrong...." The truth you want to deny is you WANT to baaaaah-lieve it was GCHQ and the NSA, but you can't prove it. That is a big legal difference you will probably need an adult to explain to you. And that is what really gets your wool in a twist! ROFLMAO!

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball?

      I actually agree with Matt's original post (yep, that's my upvote there!), since his questions "Why didn't Belgacom play ball, and what has the Belgian government done about that?" are actually valid.

      Matt is a difficult poster sometimes, but credit where credit is due - he does make some good points. However, do have some trouble with the mods blocking Eadon's account when he was far less rude than Matt, and one or two others. I'm really not advocating that anyone's account should be blocked, just that there was a lack of even-handedness there.

      1. teebie

        Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball?

        There's nothign suspicious about refusing to add a security vulnerability (which any backdoor is) to your systems.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: teebie Re: Why would Belgacom not play ball?

          BICS - the international cable bit of the business actually allegedly targeted - is not the Belgians' systems, they are owned by a multinational conglomerate which includes two non-NATO based companies. If it was 100% owned by the Belgian State them it would probably have happened with their blessing anyway. I would suspect that the Belgian government is now in the sticky position of having to pretend they knew nothing about a hack which they were probably not only in on, but probably also with the VSSE quietly getting the analyzed info on Belgian nationals and threats back from GCHQ and NSA.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the name operation socialist? Can you interview the GCHQ? That would be an interesting anecdote.

    1. Psyx

      There is no reason, if it's GCHQ. That's rather the point. It'll be named after whatever random name the random name spewing database spewed out.

      What kind of dumb-ass names ultra-secretive operations with names that are anything to do with their subject matter?

      1. Tim Brown 1
        Holmes

        "What kind of dumb-ass names ultra-secretive operations with names that are anything to do with their subject matter?"

        Probably the same sort of dumbass that thought this operation was a good idea in the first place.

      2. Fibbles

        "What kind of dumb-ass names ultra-secretive operations with names that are anything to do with their subject matter?"

        I upvoted you but 'a British bureaucrat' springs to mind.

    2. WatAWorld

      Many (not all) in the USA pretty much think all of Europe is socialist.

      The article says the NSA originated the mission, so maybe they came up with the name.

      Many (not all) in the USA pretty much think all of Europe is socialist.

      I mean, even the UK has the NHS, socialists dream as far as many Americans are concerned.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Many (not all) in the USA pretty much think all of Europe is socialist.

        Dumbass? Do speakers of American English not know that asses, are far from dumb. They make a dreadful, braying noise once they get going.

        Actually, one can say the same about dump arses. Still Americans require a full bathroom just to take a piss in the woods.

  4. FuzzyTheBear
    Big Brother

    What ? me ? worry ?

    Nothing's going to change and none of what we think matter.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Why Worry? Change is Natural. Status Quo Situations Create Problematic Self-Harming Idiot Tendencies

      Nothing's going to change and none of what we think matter. ... FuzzyTheBear Posted Friday 20th September 2013 14:39 GMT

      You have an awesome lot to learn about what can be done today, by a few, [who may at any time or place in space choose to be more than just a few whenever they share what they be doing] for a different tomorrow, FuzzyTheBear, whenever you truly believe that nothing's going to change and none of what we think, matters.

      And you might to consider and realise that the system/establishment knows that all too well too, which is why it is trying so hard to find out about everything which is not directly and specifically shared with it, and which causes it such bother and mayhem whenever networked selflessly via public and/or private and/or pirate means and memes or whistle blown to bring the houses of cards tumbling down.

      1. Trainee grumpy old ****
        Holmes

        Re: Why Worry? Changei.....

        I could understand that.

        Either amanfrommars has overdosed on the frog pills OR you, sir, are an imposter. If I were a betting man I know where my money would be.

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: Why Worry? Changei.....

          Still more sense and cohesion than a post from Matt Bryant.

          Damn sight more polite too.

      2. 142

        Re: Why Worry? Change is Natural..... THAT TITLE IS TOO LONG!

        Indeed. If leverage can be put in the right places - it is surprising how much of a change can happen. Remember the proposed Syria intervention. It was a foregone conclusion, with forces already moving into place, until a handful of Conservative MPs were convinced to speak out, leading to the entire alliance falling apart, until it was only France left, resulting in the incredible situation that it's now seemingly Russia calling the shots.

        All because of 20 or so backbenchers going against the party line.

        The justifications for this kind of widespread surveillance are even more tenuous, and it could be another case of dominos falling if some parliament was twisted into taking a stand against it.

      3. ItsNotMe
        Devil

        Re: Why Worry? Change is Natural. Status Quo Situations Create Problematic...

        "You have an awesome lot to learn about what can be done today, by a few, [who may at any time or place in space choose to be more than just a few whenever they share what they be doing] for a different tomorrow,..."

        So how did that "Arab Spring" thing turn out? That ended up OK...didn't it? Everyone got what they were after.

        OK...maybe not.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: Why Worry? Change is Natural. Status Quo Situations Create Problematic...

          Revolutions take a long time. Even the well organized ones.

          Regardless, the 'Arab Spring' likely never would have happened in the first place if the UK and the US didn't oust the democratically elected governments and install dictators who fucked everything up so badly that an Fundamentalist Islamic government seemed like a good idea.

          The Middle East already had their growing pains with democracy and were doing OK at it. We went over there and trashed it so you could drive around in '70's - '80's era gas guzzling vehicles for .03 cents on the gallon cheaper gas.

  5. Paul McClure
    Happy

    Isn't hacking a crime?

    Isn't hacking supposed to be bad? Recall a number of people going to jail or being burdened with defending against charges. In this crime the culprits are known and come complete with addresses. Waiting for the obligatory charges and jail. If the government needs an investigation then it should justify a warrant and get all the cooperation they need to proceed. Anything less is crime.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    "trouble spots such as Yemen and Syria"

    And evidently Belgium.

    Nazi flemish speakers, dependent and destitute Walloons, crumbling infrastructure, nepotism that would make the MIC blush, a large and unfriendly Muslim population, high taxes, mafiosi everywhere, weird killing sprees, dangerous child molesters, a dysfunctional government, rumors of violent secession soon, and danish pastry.

    They got it all.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "trouble spots such as Yemen and Syria"

      Do you want mayonnaise on your chips?

      GCHQ - the thin red line protecting you from the threat of Belgian invasion

      1. Fibbles

        Re: "trouble spots such as Yemen and Syria"

        Best send round the stormtroopers to arrest me in a bloody loud covert midnight raid. I am a dangerous convert to mayonnaise on chips.

        Though, if pushed, I will admit salad cream is still better.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "trouble spots such as Yemen and Syria"

          > I will admit salad cream is still better.

          Salad cream was invented as a way of detecting Fench spies:

          "Here have some salad"

          "Zank you very much Mr Fellow English Person"

          "Now put this on it"

          "Argghh non - I admit it I'm French, please don't make me eat that...."

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "trouble spots such as Yemen and Syria" @Fibbles

          Salad cream on chips - oh, yes!! Mayonnaise is too bland - the vinegar is necessary.

          Hmmmmmm - chip buttie with salad cream for lunch, methinks ....

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: "trouble spots such as Yemen and Syria"

      ...and don't forget, they eat frites avec mayonnaise!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "trouble spots such as Yemen and Syria"

        Belgium: the best chips, the best chocolate, good coffee, not known for tea, generally known for gourmandising and excellent beer, plus a good place to earn your living if you can land a job in one of the international organisations there. Also, some attractive old towns and, from experience, outstanding beer festivals and women.

        No wonder it gets spied upon, to find out how they do it, half the time without a government and no agreement on which language to use or even if it should stay as a single country.

        I suspect the rest of Europe could learn a thing or two.

    3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Belgium

      It is far worse than a trouble spot. There is a vast international conspiracy. No wonder our finest are so busy.

      http://zapatopi.net/belgium/

    4. Tabor
      Pint

      Re: "trouble spots such as Yemen and Syria"

      You forgot one : beer. Which makes all the others bearable.

  7. Crisp Silver badge

    Damn! I was right!

    Neener neener

  8. asdf Silver badge

    hmm

    Where are all the yank haters on this one? At least on this issue I think enough Brits in IT had a sneaking suspicion their government was up to almost as much no good as the NSA so the criticism was a bit muted. It sucks when you have little control of your government but personally get blamed by people in other countries huh?

    1. Tikimon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: hmm

      Second that! Ahhh, I've watched sanctimonious Brits sneer at my country plenty. Nice to see them hoist on their own petard and the deafening, embarrassed silence it generates.

      The takeaway is this: we're all at the mercy of our unaccountable governments. Let's not rip and tear on the CITIZENS of any nation for the stupidity of their so-called leaders, eh? American-bashing is uncool and unproductive, and I won't be indulging in counter-strike Brit-bashing for that reason.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: hmm

        There is only one way to save our city: Neo The Tea Party

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: hmm

        Nah yanks... its Friday, its sunny and probably the last warm sunny weekend of the year... so we have all bunked off early for the pub, look after the place for a bit, be back on Monday.. toodle pip :)

      3. Psyx

        Re: hmm

        "Second that! Ahhh, I've watched sanctimonious Brits sneer at my country plenty. Nice to see them hoist on their own petard and the deafening, embarrassed silence it generates."

        No, we knew that GCHQ was in bed with NSA as regards hacking international telecoms about fifteen years ago, so there's no point us doing anything more than shrugging our shoulders now.

        But y'know: You do kind of lose any moral high ground on sanctimoniousnessnessness by immediately counter-gloating...

      4. Don Jefe
        Happy

        Re: hmm

        Nobody is hoisted on a petard, they don't work that way. A petard hoists you if you're slow or had sex with the fuseers daughter.

      5. channel extended

        Re: hmm

        So I'm a masochist. Bash (shell) me.

      6. <shakes head>

        Re: hmm

        bashing americans it may be uncool??? and unproductive, but it is fun

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: hmm

          > ...but it is fun

          And they make it so easy!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmm

      > Where are all the yank haters on this one?

      I think we're all getting a bit jaded about the whole thing.

      What? NSA hacked another government's systems? Meh. We kinda know they're into everything now.

      What's the betting we are being softened up to prepare us for more intrusive stuff later on.

      Perhaps this whole revelation thing was arranged by the NSA to de-sensitize us for the worse that is yet to come.

      1. btrower

        Re: hmm

        @skelband -- I think you are on to the real story.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmm

      Where are all the yank haters on this one?

      I suspect they'll turn up; don't forget GCHQ used NSA developed software, and probably performed the hack at their behest as well.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: hmm

        Keep thinking NuLab wasn't as quick to use the terrorism excuse to terrorise its own people as either party in the USA (it didn't need the prodding from NSA or anyone). The Tories are no better either. As for the counter gloating its actually more of counter disgust. Often times here in the United States of Corporate Whores, Europe and the UK are few of the places in the world we can point too and say look see how a civilized country does it. When they are pulling the same bullshit our government can say see everyone does it.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: asdf Re: hmm

          ".....Europe and the UK are few of the places in the world we can point too and say look see how a civilized country does it...." <Sigh> It always amuses me when Libtard Septics get all misty-eyed over "les Continentals" and how "cultured" the Old European socialists are. What you fail to realise is the Special Relationship works because the UK is quite often the go-to boy for nasty stuff that the US wants done quietly. In the US you have always had much more stringent control and oversight over your intelligence services, even the NSA, whereas in the UK we spent many decades calmly turning a blind eye by insisting that our Secret Services did not officialy exist! But it gets even funnier when such Libtards try to live in denial about our European chums - you really need to go read up on some of the lovely activities of the Fwench and Belgians in their old empires. As just an example, I was most amused by a Greenpecker insisting to me the other day that the recent Russian seizing of the Artic Sunrise was "unprecedented" - how quickly the sheeple forget incidents like the sinking fo the Rainbow Warrior by the Fwench DGSE.

      2. Fibbles

        Re: hmm

        "Where are all the yank haters on this one?

        I suspect they'll turn up; don't forget GCHQ used NSA developed software, and probably performed the hack at their behest as well."

        I notice Lewis Page has been keeping his head down recently. Surely this is the perfect opportunity for him to espouse the virtues of American cyberwafare tech. As in the real word, so in the digital.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmm

      I think enough Brits in IT had a sneaking suspicion their government was up to almost as much no good as the NSA so the criticism was a bit muted

      Oh don't worry we know our lot as just as bad as your lot... it's a 'special' relationship they have.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: hmm

        The big thing is, the average Brit does not take its government, nor even the country, as seriously as Yanks do theirs. We tend not to go in for flags in schools, flags outside our hovels and, apart from pseudo-yanks like Cameron and Blair, we are not awfully keen nowadays to flex our muscles in foreign parts to depose governments we do not understand, support those who are actually inimical to our interests and generally waste as much of our taxes and fellow citizens/subjects lives as possible in the cause of spreading the grip of coca cola, American finance and American oil interests as possible.

        Some of us can even still speak English rather than American. But, judging by the confusion shown in most of these threads, we are a dying breed.

        Excellent that, at last, enough MPs had the guts to say, "No". Curious that certain Tories want to keep asking until the answer changes, while condemning the EU for organising ballots repeatedly until the answer changes.

        Nice that, despite the embarrassment of Cameron and his ilk, even the Americans finally turned and followed suit, along with the French (who, cunningly, were denied a say by their president). I suspect Cameron and Obama are secretly rather grateful for the escape clause and the cunning of the Russians: yet another unpopular, very expensive intervention with the usual unintended consequences has been avoided.

        If espionage pushes this along a bit, all to the good.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many years ago I wrote to GCHQ after leaving a certain large outsourcing company (clue cyberdyne systems) because I got fed up of their lax security think "drive a truck through it from home" even though they had just got ISO27000, erm, and I suppose the fact that they employed me in the fist place (non-SC/DV, no official secrets act)... they didn't even bother to ask what I thought the problem was, and let me put it this way: it would have been ***special*** if those systems had been compromised. One presumes it's all sorted now though.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      You mean "ISO 27001" (Requirements for the Information Security Management System).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Destroy All Monsters

        trust you to go one better

      2. Anonymous Dutch Coward

        Or even 27002.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          You can't get certified against 27002 as it's just a collection of "best practices", not requirements (as is 27001)

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Optional ZerodDay Dreaming ... for the Fundamentally and Mentally Ill and Deluded

    One presumes it's all sorted now though. .... Anonymous Coward PostedFriday 20th September 2013 15:25 GMT

    Yes, of course it is. Everything is rosy in the Perfumed Gardens of Eden and Wet Fields of Dreary Dreams, AC. The Bods and Boffins of GCHQ have Everything under Parliamentary Control.

  11. Pseu Donyme

    A crime, plain and simple.

  12. Captain DaFt

    Tch

    All this bantering about of... that word.

    What would Douglas Adams say?

    (It was either rant about the continuing erosion of rights and trust by the "Five Eyes", or attempt to inject a spot of levity. It's Friday, dammit!)

  13. tom dial Silver badge

    I cannot imagine why anyone would think an agency such as GCHQ that is tasked specifically with information collection and intelligence production would refrain from carrying out its mission. Nothing in the story or slides except possibly the detailed target names should be a surprise. Those who carried out the exploits did what they were supposed to, apparently with fair success, and are not, at least in the UK (and US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) guilty of any crime for that, although they might be advised not to visit Belgium. As for whether allies spy on each other, it may be worthwhile to consider the case of the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who will be eligible for parole from a US Federal prison in 2015.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      >and are not, at least in the UK (and US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) guilty of any crime

      Almost all western countries have laws against entering computer systems without authorization. Perhaps pulling the terrorism card can get you into grey area land legally but as others have said its still a crime to any reasonable person. Also the well everyone does it is usually not a very sound legal defense. If they would have gotten a warrant or equivalent from the Belgium government it would be a different matter entirely.

  14. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    So the GCHQ used some kind of Phishing attack this time?

    Unfortunately about the only new twist on this avalanche of NSA/GCHQ stories.

    I wonder if all the packet sniffing and "malware for freedom" significantly increases latency through these cables. I have to think that more agencies than gchq are picking on Belgacom.

  15. Lars Silver badge
    Flame

    Whistleblower

    Years ago there was a guy who worked at Alaska Airlines in the technics group and relived to the authorities that the company was cheating badly on repairs. Before anybody responded people had to die. This guy had to suffer by the company he worked for as a whistleblower. But would you not agree that he did what we hope and wish anybody, with that kind of information would do.

    Lets have a look at what Wikipedia has on this.

    "A whistleblower (whistle-blower or whistle blower)[1] is a person who exposes misconduct, alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organization. The alleged misconduct may be classified in many ways; for example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health and safety violations, and corruption. Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally (for example, to other people within the accused organization) or externally (to regulators, law enforcement agencies, to the media or to groups concerned with the issues)."

    And:

    "The Continental Congress enacted the first whistleblower protection law in the United States on July 30, 1778 by a unanimous vote."

    Note how there is nothing about whistleblowing the State, the Government. Personally I think they never thought it would be necessary. or most likely, it never entered their minds at all. (absolutely no knowledge on this).

    Anyway, to day, we have Governments (by the people too) who break the law, deny they do it, make secret laws to make more secret laws. Call it what ever you like, Nazi or Communist, it is always the same.

    Sorry for the last sentence, but would it not be possible to have a law making any secret laws moot. Any use of any secret law to be against the law. Could be interesting.

    Anyway, eventually, trying to came to my point is that we should be obliged to report any wrongdoings by our governments too. And finally, Snowden is just the postman.

    Sheep we are, counting sheep and falling a sleep all the time, ever and ever.

  16. Don Jefe
    Meh

    The worst part is that Snowden was portrayed as a traitor. Who in a rush for fame had bypassed the Whistleblower procedures of the Federal Government.

    The truth is that government contractors (in the US) don't qualify for Whistleblower status and even if they did, the Whistleblowing policies never apply to sensitive or classified information or programs.

    Snowden did the only thing he could. Twelve years of silence by 20,000+ other employees and two Presidential Administrations and only one person chose to lose everything and tell us what was really happening.

    A democratic government cannot function unless the people have awareness of the facts on which to base their decisions. Hiding information or deception is not empowering the people and it is no longer right to call it a free society. It is a managed society.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Don Jefe

      "....Snowden did the only thing he could...." Sorry to disrupt your little hero worship session, but that's complete male genetalia. As he admitted to the Chinese press, Snowjob deliberately signed up with the intent to commit treachery. He then could also have chosen to take his knowldege to plenty of politicians and journalists in the States that would have broadcast his info widely and used him at Senate hearings and the like. Instead, Snowjob chose to make money off his treachery by selling his info via Greenwald and Poitras (and now no doubt through his "friendship" with Dickileaks). Snowjob did not do the only thing he could, he did the thing that guaranteed him fame, noteriety, and a cheque or three.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Don Jefe

        Matt, for a fellow who derides any sort of proof of anything, it is extraordinarily strange that you cite Chinese media as a good source of information.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Don Re: Don Jefe

          "....derides any form of proof....." Er, what proof? All you have is conjecture. You do understand the concept of circumstantial evidence, right? It may be a very strong indicator but it is still NOT proof.

          "....you cite Chinese media....." Ooh, is that some racist insistence that only white, Western reporters are to be trusted? Not very progressive or liberal. Or just the usual sheeple denial that any source that does not align perfectly with your baaaah-liefs has to be ignored? If you wish to discredit the South China Morning Post article (www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1268209/snowden-sought-booz-allen-job-gather-evidence-nsa-surveillance) then please do supply a bit more meat to your argument.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don Don Jefe @Matt Bryant

            Well then Matt, can you be clear about what you would accept as proof. When does circumstantial evidence become proof.

            We'd like to know.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Don Don Jefe @Matt Bryant

              "....When does circumstantial evidence become proof....." When it stands up to professional examination in a court of law, rather than the shrieking court of sheeple opinion.

              1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: Don Don Jefe @Matt Bryant

                So, by your standards then, this...

                "Well, the first obvious pointer is that Snowjob did not spread his info out as widely as possible and all in one go, instead it has been drip-fed out mainly by Greenwald for obvious Guardian profit. From there you have to ask how is Snowjob paying for his upkeep seeing as his US accounts have been frozen? Gee, do you maybe think he's taking cash payments from at least the Guardian? And then there are his continual interviews with papers which are nothing more than lifestyle pieces - they display his narcissism."

                Is not evidence, but is merely shrieking of a different flavour? Conjecture, just like the rest of us.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: Don Don Jefe @Matt Bryant

                  "....Is not evidence...." Snowden's choice of running off abroad very publicly, rather than staying in the US to push his info through the courts, is a fact. His decision to use Greenwald as a commercial outlet, rather than giving it free to Cryptome or even Dickileaks, is also a fact. You, on the other hand, seem rather short of facts, chap.

                  ".....merely shrieking....." More chuckling, thanks.

                  "...Conjecture, just like the rest of us." No. You see, any conjecture I make is based on proven facts, such as Snowden's cash having been frozen. Your bleating is purely based on conjecture, and often easily debunked due to the lack of any factual foundation. Big difference, little lambkins.

      2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Don Jefe

        "Instead, Snowjob chose to make money off his treachery by selling his info via Greenwald and Poitras (and now no doubt through his "friendship" with Dickileaks). Snowjob did not do the only thing he could, he did the thing that guaranteed him fame, noteriety, and a cheque or three."

        And where is YOUR proof, Matt Bleaty? Can you even come up to your own standards?

        No.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Boring Bernie Re: Don Jefe

          "....where is YOUR proof....." Well, the first obvious pointer is that Snowjob did not spread his info out as widely as possible and all in one go, instead it has been drip-fed out mainly by Greenwald for obvious Guardian profit. From there you have to ask how is Snowjob paying for his upkeep seeing as his US accounts have been frozen? Gee, do you maybe think he's taking cash payments from at least the Guardian? And then there are his continual interviews with papers which are nothing more than lifestyle pieces - they display his narcissism.

          A true whistleblower cares about what he is revealing rather than personal glory, a good example being Perry Fellwock? "Perry who?" you say. Fellwock revealed the existence of the NSA. He didn't go on a World tour, or deliberately get a job with the intelligence services with the aim of committing treachery for cash, he simply said his piece, got the information to the right people to bring it to court via US Senate Church Committee, and then was content to fade into the background. W. Felt, AKA "Deep Throat", was content for his identity never to be revealed. Felt finally only confirmed his identity as "Deep Throat" thirty years later in order to help pay for his grandchildren's education. Snowden is probably just eager to keep paying for pole dancers.

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

            Re: Boring Bernie Don Jefe

            Good points, well made, gets an upvote from me Matt.

            I'd not heard of Perry Fellwock, so you're quite right there and the fact that Snowdon has an exclusive deal with only one news outlet might well be suspect.

            I'm not sure I'd call it anymore evidential that some of the posts that disagree with you, but its enough to make me raise an eyebrow and go and do some more research.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Alert

              Re: Boring Bernie Re: Boring Bernie Don Jefe

              "....you're quite right there...." Blimey! <Checks for flying pigs> I think I'll go buy a Lotto ticket!

  17. WatAWorld

    Don't buy Chinese unless you want to be spied upon said the USA.

    The USA has long advocated we blacklist China from communications projects because China might do what the USA and UK did.

    We had House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers traveling the world urging companies not to do business with the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei as a matter of national security.

    From news section of The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-at-risk-from-chinese-firm-u-s-warns-1.1213967

    "Allowing Huawei near any part of that network, says the chairman of the U.S. Intelligence Committee, could be courting disaster.

    "This is your personal data. This could be your medical records, your financial records, everything that you hold dear that you think is locked away in a safe place on your computer…" The key word there is new secure network; I would not have the faith and confidence." Rogers says the information about Huawei gathered by his committee "puts at risk consumer data, and puts at risk security interests certainly of the United States, and I would argue of Canada as well."

    Another quote from another American, Michelle K. Van Cleave:

    www.cbc.ca/news/politics/chinese-firm-s-canadian-contracts-raise-security-fears-1.1157281

    "The former head of U.S. counter-espionage says the Harper government is putting North American security at risk by allowing a giant Chinese technology company to participate in major Canadian telecommunications projects.

    "In an exclusive interview in Washington, Michelle K. Van Cleave told CBC News the involvement of Huawei Technologies in Canadian telecom networks risks turning the information highway into a freeway for Chinese espionage against both the U.S. and Canada."

    So the USA should understand when we blacklist them.

    And imagine the outcry in the USA if we did this to them.

    They would be screaming, recalling diplomats, canceling trade deals, and increasing the rate with which the violate trade agreements they signed with us.

    Only the USA has the budget, morality and easily subverted head offices that allow it to subvert so many suppliers.

    The EU has no choice. The EU must simply blacklist US-based companies from bidding on communications contracts. We need EU-based suppliers at any cost.

    Otherwise the EU and national governments might as well give up on security and go with the low bidding Chinese suppliers.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imagine the outcry if an EU nation did this to the USA

    Imagine the outcry in the USA if we did this to them.

    They would be screaming, recalling diplomats, canceling trade deals, and increasing the rate with which the violate trade agreements they signed with us.

    Only the USA has the budget, morality and easily subverted head offices that allow it to subvert so many suppliers.

    1. Don Jefe
      Meh

      Re: Imagine the outcry if an EU nation did this to the USA

      The US couldn't do what it does without the greed of the UK opening the doors for them. The US is absolutely wrong in what they are doing, but the UK isn't only not stopping them, they are actively helping...

  19. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Know your Friends ..... They could be the Enemy

    Regarding whistleblowers/Snowden Asylum Seeker type systems admins, does the EU have a rewarding take upon the practice .......

    3.3. Whistle-Blowers’ Protection and Incentives

    Recommendation: Systematic protection and incentives for whistle-blowers should be introduced in the new Regulation. Whistle-blowers should be given strong guarantees of immunity and asylum, and awarded 25% of any fine consequently exacted. The whistle-blower may have to live in fear of retribution from their country for the rest of the lives, and take precautions to avoid “rendition” (kidnapping). Ironically, US law already provides rewards of the order of $100m for whistle-blowers exposing corruption (in the sphere of public procurement and price-fixing).

    And as for the Convenience of Cloud in Computing and for Commerce, it is quite vital that one knows what one is doing, and what can be done by others in that realm, for IT is easily abused to server valuable personal and private/professional and pirate base metadata/rich mineable semantic content to whoever would have a foreign intelligence interest and a want and/or need to know to gain and/or maintain and sustain an inequitable competitive advantage/artificially rigged dominant position, which is always a very precarious and perilously dangerous position to put oneself in, for it is an indicator of a lack of necessary natural leading intelligence supply in-house for internetworking services provision …… and in the virtual machine world/AI field, internetworking server provision. The position and weakness though is not unrecognised ……

    Data can only be processed whilst decrypted, and thus any Cloud processor can be secretly ordered under FISA 702 to hand over a key, or the information itself in its decrypted state. Encryption is futile to defend against NSA accessing data processed by US Clouds (but still useful against external adversaries such as criminal hackers). Using the Cloud as a remote disk-drive does not provide the competitiveness and scalability benefits of Cloud as a computation engine. There is no technical solution to the problem.

    Exposing data in bulk to remote Cloud mass-surveillance forfeits data sovereignty, so confining data to the EU is preferable pending legal solutions. Although NSA has extensive capabilities to target particular systems inside the EU, this is harder and riskier to do. However basic reforms to the new Regulation are needed, otherwise in practice these two situations will be treated as equivalent, and Cloud business will go to lowest bidder.

    Although an EU-based company transacting in the US is also subject to conflicts between EU DP and the FISA law, in practice it is less likely they will be served with such secret orders, because the legal staff and management would be more likely to resist, and as EU-nationals are less threatened by US espionage laws. “Clouds” can be confined to a location, and arguments this would “balkanise the Internet confuses issues of censorship with the problem of keeping data private. ….. The US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programmes (PRISM) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) activities and their impact on EU citizens' fundamental rights

  20. Potemkine Silver badge
    Flame

    With friends like this you don't need enemies

    UK going out the EU would be a good start, we do not need this US trojan horse inside the Union.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: With friends like this you don't need enemies @Potemkine

      That is a worryingly accurate statement. I'm a big supporter of the EU, and had not considered the risk the UK presents to it. I might need to start persuading my wife it is time for us to move to her native (EU-member) land, and then support the loons that think the UK will be better off out of the EU ...

      I wish I was being sarcastic, but I'm not.

  21. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Special Office of CyberIntelAIgent Security ...... AI.Govt Wild LOVEChild with All the Graces

    I cannot imagine why anyone would think an agency such as GCHQ that is tasked specifically with information collection and intelligence production would refrain from carrying out its mission. …. tom dial Posted Friday 20th September 2013 19:30 GMT

    The universal ubiquitous lament is that the product they provide and tacitly support such an ignorant destructive and arrogant sub-prime loss leader. And that can only be as a direct result of the collection of dodgy information and the turning of it into crappy intelligence to fit a failed narrative which does not bear smart scrutiny for viable equitable creative continuity in the Bigger Picture Fields that IT and Media be floating it into as a reality to be embraced and endured/built upon.

    And their Virtual Reality skillets are a disgrace to the nation ….. however, looking on the bright side of that current catastrophe, which some would say amounts to intelligence fraud being perpetrated on human assets, it does of course provide an opportunity for more competent and switched on to the future needs of a creative peaceful society services and computerised servers to take over global programming provision with new and novel sources of entirely different phorms of intelligent intelligence product, which strengthens and expands ITs influence sublimely and benignly rather than causing conflict and mayhem in bouts of shared madness, which does appear to be the all too likely present state of such crazy affairs, portrayed and pimped by media as current world news.

    Real Smart IT and Virtually Clever TV and Audio it aint …… Fix it. Step aside and let the CodeXSSXXXXperts in to do their Future Failsafe Virtual Reality thing, for they cannot be stopped and to think to hinder them for any wrong reason is to indelibly mark oneself and single oneself out for the special attention of their security forces, and believe me and heed this friendly advice, you definitely don't want to see them as, or make them your enemy for they can easily program themselves to not take any prisoners, and answer to no one.

    There are no finer friends though, and there is nothing that they cannot nor will not do for them whenever required …. or even as they feel might be just a good thing and give them and their friends, the simplest of complex pleasures.

  22. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Want to gain access to a GRX core router?

    Buy a connection and peer with it. It's how GRX exchanges usually work.

    Der Spiegel doesn't appear to have asked anyone in industry about this or their previous article. Belgacom doesn't own (many) submarine cables and the ones listed are consortium or 'club' cables. Telcos invest in those in exchange for capacity and other perks like controlling the landing stations, and thus making money off backhaul sales. Having rights to a percentage of the capacity doesn't automatically mean access to SLTs or muxes that would give potential access to other member's capacity.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Jellied Eel Re: Want to gain access to a GRX core router?

      "....Having rights to a percentage of the capacity doesn't automatically mean access to SLTs or muxes that would give potential access to other member's capacity....." True, but it depends what info you are after. Remember, the targeting info for PRISM was based on connections, i.e., who did Achmed call and when? I would suspect the primary target would be the billing systems where this data is held, rather than the cables themselves. The cables can be physically tapped as required, but the billing system data would probably be of greater interest in telling the spooks where to go look. And even if it was compartmentalised it is likely to be on virtualised systems, so hacking the core system would lead to accessing the shared network links and shared storage links all the virtual instances use. There's no need to hack every VM if you can peek at the data going through the physical cards, and hiding in the VM underneath would probably draw less attention than hacking into every billing VM.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Jellied Eel Want to gain access to a GRX core router?

        You're likely correct Matt. Billing systems not only contain call records, billing systems are the category which most State level communications manipulations take place. Where the US can't export censorship technology, they most certainly can, and do, export 'revenue leakage' management technology. The same equipment that selectively or universally identifies and blocks IP calls is also the same equipment that drives 'lawful intercept' activities. Everything is wide open if you can access the billing.

        The very same technology that was in the the infamous AT&T room during the Bush MkII administration is alive and well and being sold globally as we speak. Sold as billing management and revenue leakage controls with integrated lawful intercept capabilities.

  23. RobHib
    Black Helicopters

    Ultimately, it'll backfire

    Ultimately, this kind of behaviour will backfire. Either out of revenge or satisfaction, someone (or some government) will eventually hack GCHQ either from the outside or internally (à la Burgess, Maclean, Philby and Blunt).

    As was with 60 years ago, Snowden has proven that it can still be done again these days.

    ...And few outside British Security will have even the slightest sympathy.

  24. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    WTF?

    Lovely!

    Nice to know we are just as bad as the American agencies!

    Seriously though, on what planet do they think this is OK?

    If they had valid threat intelligence, they should have gone through the relevant channels, and not simply pissed over the sovereignty of an allie.

    The government would be up in arms if this was discovered to have happened to us.

    The UK (like America) needs to remember that it doesn't own the world, despite one thinking that it did.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Lovely!

      That should be "despite once thinking"

      I haven't suddenly turned into the queen!

  25. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    SOE v4.2 too ...... a Deep Fabulous Well BetaTested Program Service

    What you fail to realise is the Special Relationship works because the UK is quite often the go-to boy for nasty stuff that the US wants done quietly. In the US you have always had much more stringent control and oversight over your intelligence services, even the NSA, whereas in the UK we spent many decades calmly turning a blind eye by insisting that our Secret Services did not officialy exist! …. Matt Bryant Posted Saturday 21st September 2013 11:09 GMT

    How's the intelligence phishing going for you here, Matt? Discovered anything of foreign intelligence interest to change the fortunes and misfortunes of Uncle Sam Services Enterprise? With astuteness in the East being so much more sublimely adept and stealthily active in the novel exotic and noble erotic fields which embrace and laud and reward the mystery and mastery of remote virtual control and command of NLP, you gotta be quick to make a move and engage with parties/individuals/IDEntities into Future Systems IntelAIgent Design …. and/or from those times and that entropy ….. Dark Secret Matter Space Place, so that they can stay focussed on providing Western intelligence rather than reinforcing Eastern, although it would be foolish to argue and not realise that supply of the former delivers the latter too in and with a SMARTR Asymmetric Singularity.

    Do you not think it be quaint and incredibly naive, to the point where it becomes can become suddenly quite totally self-destructive and catastrophically disruptive, to believe that there can be any sort of much more stringent control and oversight over intelligence services which provide leading intelligence which is followed/trailed/phished/monitored/mentored/of foreign and alien intelligence interest?

    And ….. you may like to consider, as much as one knows and as may be known and spun around the spooky intelligence services at rest, work and play in the UK and myriad other locations further afield for Team UKGBNI, are they not the real thing and never ever have been or will be, for true Secret Services ensure that they exist to provide cover and share blame and distribute shame on that which deserves its services.

    Our Secret Service does not officially exist. No Such Agency exists. Poe's Law Rules :-)

  26. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Benign Meritocratic Autocracy is a Novel Alien Phorm of Government for Leading Virtual Machines

    A democratic government cannot function unless the people have awareness of the facts on which to base their decisions. Hiding information or deception is not empowering the people and it is no longer right to call it a free society. It is a managed society. … Don Jefe Posted Saturday 21st September 2013 00:09 GMT

    I wholeheartedly agree, DJ. And that gets my upvote.

    And a managed and not free society is always vulnerable to spontaneous zeroday exploits, both real and virtual, which challenge forces both physical and intellectual and which are as a result of carefully shared knowledge and information to followers/leading listeners. And whether that intelligence be superior or inferior or simply complex and alternative does it matter not a jot to its leaders and sources just so long as it be followed and reported to spread the FUD and/or IT Joy ….. which extraordinarily renders the media as complicit and instrumental in all manner of shenanigans both criminal and dire and not so.

    J'accuse.:-) …… and one cannot viably deny it be so and wish to retain any semblance of credibility in circles in which intelligence and integrity are highly valued and much sought after. The gutter presses though abound to overflowing with such woeful tales and dodgy operations?

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