Russia handed malware-laden devices to G20 delegates?

At the G20 summit held near St. Petersburg in September, attending delegates representing the 20 most powerful nations in the world have been handed gifts that included malware-laden USB drives and specially crafted mobile phone chargers able to steal information, it is claimed in a report published by Italian daily newspaper La Stampa.

According to the reporter, the fact was discovered after Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council returned to Brussels and handed over the received gadgets to security officials for a check which, in turn, asked Germany’s secret service for help in analyzing it.

“The USB pen drives and the recharging cables were able to capture computer and mobile phone data,” they warned in a confidential memo sent to the rest of G20 members following the discovery.

It is still unknown whether all the delegates and heads of state attending the summit received the booby-trapped devices. According to The Telegraph, David Cameron did not receive them, and his spokesman commented that, as far as they know, the devices were only gifted to delegates.

On the other hand, Brussel sources have denied finding evidence of any malicious gifts been given out at the summit. They also added that the chances of delegates receiving such devices and using them without checking with the security services whether they contain malware is extremely slim, as diplomats are aware of the dangers of such an action.

This claim was reiterated by a spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin. “We do not know, what sources this information may have come from, but clearly it is nothing else but an attempt to divert attention from objective problems, which dominate the agenda between the European capitals and Washington, to some ephemeral, non-existent ones,” he commented.

La Stampa says that the investigation in the matter is still ongoing, and no official comment from Brussels is yet to be had.

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