Sunday 22 July 2018

Russians sent 'Trojan horses' to spy at G20

Nick Squires Rome

Russia spied on foreign powers at last month's G20 summit by giving delegations USB memory sticks capable of downloading sensitive information from laptops, it has been claimed.

The devices were given to foreign delegates, including heads of state, at the summit near St Petersburg, according to reports in two Italian newspapers, 'La Stampa' and 'Corriere della Sera'.

Delegations also received mobile phone recharging devices which were also reportedly capable of secretly tapping into emails, text messages and telephone calls.

The alleged attempts by Moscow to spy on foreign powers at the G20 came at a time of high tension between the US and Russia, in particular over Syria and the Russian granting of asylum to former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden.

Suspicions were first raised about the Russian spying campaign by European Council president Herman Van Rompuy (pictured), according to the front page of 'Corriere della Sera'.

He ordered the USB drives and other devices received by the delegates in St Petersburg to be analysed by intelligence experts in Brussels, as well as Germany's secret service.

A memorandum was then sent out to G20 members, the Italian daily claimed.

The devices were "a poisoned gift" from Vladimir Putin, claimed 'La Stampa', the Turin-based daily.

"They were Trojan horses designed to obtain information from computers and cell phones," the paper said.

The investigations into the alleged spying devices were ongoing, the reports said.

Brussels sources said they were baffled by the allegations and expressed total confidence in the security of devices used by EU delegates, including at the St Petersburg summit. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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