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Germany protests to Russia over wave of cyber attacks

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Cyber ​​Warfare Update

Germany accuses Russia of launching a series of cyberattacks on politicians because it is suspected that Moscow is interfering in this month’s election to decide who will succeed Angela Merkel as prime minister.

The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it holds Russia responsible for illegally targeting politicians in some countries and regions through “phishing” emails to obtain personal details.

These “unacceptable behaviors” pose a risk to “Germany’s security and its democratic decision-making process, and [placed] Andrea Sasse, spokesman for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that this places a heavy burden on bilateral relations with Russia.

Sass said that at a meeting of the security policy working group between the two countries last week, Secretary of State Miguel Berger had directly transferred the German protest to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov.

The warning was issued before what seems to be the most open election in Germany’s recent history, and opinion polls have shown uncertain results, which could bring months of uncertainty to Europe’s most powerful country.It will kick off Merkel reigned for 16 years As prime minister.

Some opinion polls have shown that the center-left Social Democratic Party and their Chancellor of the Exchequer Olaf Scholz have won the candidates.one INSA poll Data released on Monday showed that the Social Democratic Party accounted for 26%, the CDU/CDU accounted for 20.5%, the opposition Green Party accounted for 15.5%, and the pro-business Liberal Democratic Party accounted for 12.5%.

It is unclear which party Moscow hopes to win the election. Both Scholz and Armin Laschet, CDU/CSU’s prime minister candidates, have voiced mild voices towards Russia.

However, Green Party candidate Annalena Balbok is highly critical of the Kremlin and opposed the Beixi 2 pipeline, which passes through the Baltic Sea and transports Russian natural gas directly to Europe, bypassing Ukraine. Critics say this will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy exports.

Berlin is increasingly worried that Russia may try to intervene in the 2016 U.S. election again. Thomas Haldenwang, head of BfV, a domestic intelligence agency in Germany, July said Foreign intelligence agencies view the Bundestag election as an “important goal” and are exploring ways to influence the results.

Germany has long accused Moscow of trying to access the digital networks of its political institutions.Merkel said last year “Conclusive evidence” The Russian army carried out a large-scale hacking attack on the Bundestag in 2015, and the hacker also targeted her own email.

The two countries also clashed over the killing of an exiled Chechen insurgent leader in Berlin Park in 2019. Germany said this was an order of the Kremlin.

Sass said that in recent months, hackers have been using “phishing” emails to try to access the personal login details of members of the Bundestag and 16 regional assemblies in Germany.

“These attacks can be used as preparations for influence actions, such as false propaganda activities related to the Bundestag election,” she said.

The Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sasse said that the “Ghostwriter” network organization that has combined “traditional cyber attacks with disinformation and influence operations” for many years seems to be behind these attacks.

She said that Berlin has “reliable information” indicating that its activities are “attributable to Russian state cyber actors, especially the Russian military intelligence agency GRU.”

Haldenwang stated in July that hacker attempts may be a prelude to “hacking and disclosure operations” on social media, in which personal information obtained by hackers is “published in a selective and misleading manner, and the information is forged by manipulating information to discredit individuals or parties. “.

In 2018, U.S. authorities charged 12 Russian intelligence officials During Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election, hackers hacked Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. They said Russia’s stealing and leaking emails were part of the Russian government’s efforts to intervene in the election.

At the same time, the US intelligence services concluded in March this year that Russian President Vladimir Putin (Vladimir Putin) Authorized “impact operation” Designed to support Trump’s re-election attempt in 2020.

The German Federal Court last year issued an arrest warrant for Dmitry Badin, a Russian man who was allegedly a hacker of the Russian military intelligence service and is believed to be behind the attack on the Bundestag in 2015.

Additional report by Max Seddon in Moscow



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