Belgium Accuses Chinese Hackers of Attacking Ministry Departments

The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has accused Chinese threat actors (hackers) of breaching its defense and interior ministries.

The MFA claimed that three Chinese Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors have attacked Belgium’s interior and defense sectors. 

According to a statement by the MFA, the attacks were carried out by APT 27, 30, and 3, also known as UNSC 2814, GALLIUM, and SOFTCELL.

“Belgium strongly denounces these malicious cyber activities, which are undertaken in contradiction with the norms of responsible state behaviour as endorsed by all UN member states,” read part of the MFA’s statement.

Microsoft first noted the APT 30 group’s activity in December 2019, when the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) issued a warning about the GALLIUM threat group that was aiming its attacks at international telecommunications companies.

The MFA said that the cyber attacks “Significantly affected our sovereignty, democracy, security and society at large.”

The cyberespionage group GALLIUM began focusing on financial institutions and governmental organizations in 2021, and their targets now include Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Malaysia, Mozambique, the Philippines, Russia, and Vietnam.

The Belgian government also called on Chinese authorities to “Take all appropriate measures and reasonably available and feasible steps to detect, investigate and address the situation.”

The accusations have since then been refuted by the Chinese Embassy in Belgium which described the Belgian government’s claims as “irresponsible.”

“It is extremely unserious and irresponsible of the Belgian side to issue a statement about the so-called “malicious cyberattacks” by Chinese hackers without any evidence,” and added that the Belgian government “Makes groundless accusations and deliberately denigrates and smears China.”

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