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Yes, U.S. did hack Elysée Palace in 2012, French ex-spy says

Peter Sayer | Sept. 9, 2016
And yes, it was a Frenchman who hacked the Canadians (and the Iranians) in 2009

Later that year, he heard that Le Monde had obtained an NSA briefing document about him that had been prepared for that meeting and was planning to publish it.

Barbier asked an NSA contact in Paris to give him a copy of the briefing document. "He said 'I can't, it's top secret, only President Obama can declassify it.' I said 'Don't mess around, six million Frenchmen are going to see it soon, and I can't?' I finally saw it one day before Le Monde published it," he told the students.

Another 2013 story in Le Monde concerned a cyber-attack on Iran's nuclear installations, which also targeted computers in Canada, Spain, Greece, Norway, Algeria and Ivory Coast. In a note leaked by Snowden, Canadian officials said they were fairly certain that the attack had been mounted by a French intelligence agency. The French government denied any involvement.

But at his old school, Barbier said that when the Canadians reverse-engineered the malware, they found that its programmer had nicknamed it "Babar" and signed it "Titi," two clues that led them to believe he was French.

"And he was," said Barbier, without acknowledging which agency, if any, the programmer worked for.

Security researchers later were able to link Babar to other families of malware, known as Bunny, Casper, Dino, NBot and Tafacalou.

With so many of these affairs hinted at or revealed by Snowden's leaks, it was inevitable that one of the students would ask him what he thought of the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower.

"Snowden totally betrayed his country," Barbier said, but with his revelations about allies spying on one another and the hacking by the U.S. of networking equipment from the likes of Cisco Systems, "Snowden helped us, on the whole."

 

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