This is the year of Germany’s general elections that will be held on September 24. However, even now, the country’s officials worry about foul play, and the main suspect is once again Russia.
On Tuesday’s news conference. Thomas de Maiziere, who serves as an Interior Minister, has reminded everyone about the German Parliament hack from 2015. During the hack, a lot of data and confidential documents ended up being stolen.
He fears that some of the stolen data may leak in the next several weeks in an attempt to sway an election. This may be part of an effort to undermine Germany’s democracy, as well as members and lawmakers of the country’s current government. The files have not been published anywhere else, as of yet.
The head of Germany’s intelligence agency BfV, Hans-Georg Maassen, has stated that for now, nobody knows what Russia might or will do. He even warned that Russia’s goal might not be to support one party over another, but instead to try and cause as much damage as it can.
Affecting the election is pretty much well expected from Russia at this point. After all, Russia is the most likely suspect for meddling in the US election in November 2016, as well as in this May’s election in France.
Because of this, Germany doesn’t want to risk anything, and the entire country is preparing for the possible attempt of influencing the outcome.
Germany has also been a big target for the international spies, too. BfV’s report claims that foreign governments have launched both spies, as well as cyber attacks against it. The biggest ones include China, Russia, as well as Iran. They all have different reasons, but the results are the same.
Because these, and many other threats, Germany has been facing a lot of cyber attacks over the years. Most of the targets include the German military, the Chancellery, as well as Foreign ministry, embassies, and Economics and Finance ministries.
These attacks are expected to eventually get through, and potentially steal a lot of country’s confidential data. Another threat is installing delayed-action malware that could sabotage the infrastructure at a later date.
One of these threats is the Russian-linked malware called the Sandworm. It’s most likely targets are government websites, Nato military alliance, as well as telecommunications firms.
There was also an increase in propaganda and disinformation campaigns. Internet trolls have been responsible for attempts of swaying the public opinion, while the real facts lose their credibility.
All of this propaganda is mostly against Germany government’s policies, while at the same time, it is much more pro-Russian. These problems have existed from 2014, and the main topics are foreign policy problems, as well as bad economic situation.
Also, a lot of spear phishing attacks were noticed, especially when it comes to Russian group called Fancy Bear. This same group has also hacked both German Parliament in 2015, as well as US Democratic National Committee in 2016.
As always, the Kremlin is denying any involvement and all accusations connected to these actions.