Berlin condemns alleged Russian cyberattacks ahead of September elections

Germany has ‘reliable information’ that Russian military intelligence service was behind attack targeting policymakers, says official

BERLIN (AA) – Germany on Monday harshly criticized alleged Russian cyberattacks as part of Moscow’s disinformation campaign to influence the outcome of the Sept. 26 general elections.

Speaking at a regular government news conference in Berlin, Deputy Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse said the Russian-led cyberassault was “totally unacceptable” as it posed “a threat to (German) national security” and a “severe strain” on bilateral ties.

Sasse claimed that Germany had “reliable information” that the Russian military intelligence service was behind the attack which reportedly targeted dozens of German policymakers.

“The federal (German) government urges the Russian government to stop these illegal cyber activities with immediate effect,” she stated.

Sasse also said that Russian hackers are believed to belong to the disinformation campaign dubbed “Ghostwriter,” which is linked to Russian military intelligence.

The cyberattack targeted seven members of Germany’s parliament, all of whom belonged to the co-ruling Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), in addition to 31 other state lawmakers, according to media reports.

Germany’s Interior Ministry warned in June that the September elections face a risk of being targeted by Russian cyberattacks.

There have been mounting cyberattacks in the past few weeks, according to a ministry assessment seen by German broadcaster ARD, among them so-called brute force attacks on e-mail accounts in order to access sensitive data.

In the report, the Interior Ministry said it regards the assault against political parties and foundations as a “serious threat” in view of the upcoming federal elections.


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