Belgium cyber security agency links China to Cyber Attack

Belgium Cyber Security 

Belgium’s cyber security agency has made a claim to China-sponsored hackers to an attack on a politician.European governments are more willing to challenge Beijing over alleged cyber instacances.


Samuel Cogolati, a Belgian MP, was the subject of a cyber attack around January 2021. It came after the MP had written a resolution to warn of all the crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims in China.


The Centre for Cyber Security Belgium (CCB) mentioned that there was information that a specific Chinese state actor called “APT31” was behind the phishing attack.


The cyber authority giving hints to name a Chinese state actor comes as European cyber agencies lose their former to take China over suspected incidents.


Belgium’s foreign ministry last year had to take the step of asking China’s government to stop its malicious cyber activity. The EU also gave warning of getting Chinese attacks in the year 2021.


Christopher, co-founder of cyber intelligence firm Recorded Future, said that such malicious activity coming from China groups had started getting “shifted towards Europe” in recent years.


However,countries often refused to point out attacks openly to China. Ahlberg also said that it would lead to upsetting relations with a major economic power.

Allegations to China 

“Belgium is very small in size.And it was not so usual for European countries to attack China a few years ago. But recent consistent incidents have made it harder for China to ignore,” Ahlberg continued.


When Cogolati was making the Uyghur resolution, he got an email from a fake news organization. It said that they have information on human rights abuses in China. Cogolati only understood that the significance of the message after the issue arising from Belgium’s cyber security agency.


“We believe  the emails’ series source were from APT31. It is a threat actor associated with China.

Anyone has hardly shown interest in people who criticized the actions of the Chinese Communist party,” .


The CCB later shared the FT about a source that had linked APT 31 to the activity.

But that its involvement was difficult to confirm with complete certainty.


Cogolati gave the confirmation that the alert from the CCB  was to “ open full light on the extent of China’s cyber attacks against my country”.


The attack which came to Cogolati from email was in the form of a spear phishing campaign. It is a way of attack in which an attacker creates an email to target a group of victims.


APT31’s has  a “tracking pixel” as a signature move. It has uses in marketing as an image attached to an email. That returns back general data about the victim’s IT information. The attackers will then come up with further emails with similar links for the victim’s system.


A Belgian parliament had to postpone the hearing in May 2021 with Uyghur victims. It happened after parliament saw shut down after a mass cyber attack.


China denying 

“We do not have any encouragement or support for cyber attacks. We refuse the Belgian side’s unnecessary claim,” said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson for the response to Belgium’s allegations.


China’s embassy in Belgium did not immediately respond to questions for the letter Cogolati sent.

Also read:

Leave a Comment