In a report published by ABC-News, the Embassy of United States in Paris has denied the allegations reported in a French magazine that the government of US was involved in a hacking attempt against computers in the French president’s palace earlier this year.
According to French News magazine L’Express, the hackers disguising the employees of presidential palace as Facebook friends shafted them into giving up secret passwords, then used the same password to access and install a computer virus in Elysee Palace in May, the computer of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy’s chief-of-staff was also among the affected ones.
However, the U.S. embassy issued a statement in which it denied the hacking claims, stating that:
The report published by the magazine is not based on fact and it is nothing but “a bundle of presumptions.”The U.S. Embassy said France was “one of the best allies of the United States” and pointed to remarkable bilateral cooperation between the countries on issues like intelligence, security and cyber-defense.
The report said that French experts shortlisted the number of ”could be” hackers based on the technical complexity of the intrusion, and said it bore some hallmarks of Flame — a cutting-edge computer worm discovered earlier this year that has been linked to a secretive cyber-warfare campaign aimed at Iran.
The magazine further stated that Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky confirmed the program had a full suite of spying technologies, including the capability to turn computer microphones into listening devices and wirelessly transferred data from nearby smartphones.
The Express magazine revealed that hackers didn’t only managed to access the computer of Nicolas Sarkozy, but they were also able to search the computer of close adviser of Sarkozy. Secret notes were recovered from hard drives, but also strategic plans.
The French government also issues a statement on the report, French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said that:
She didn’t have precise information about the alleged attack, “but I don’t believe we have any particular worries” that the United States might have been behind any such hacking and “To my knowledge, this was all repaired very quickly. There was no difficulty.”
The magazine stands firm on its investigative report, however it will be interesting to know who the hackers really were, if it was the U.S government or someone else behind the scene trying to gain access of secret information.