German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society with an intensifying campaign of propaganda, disinformation, and cyberattacks ahead of federal elections next year. “We see aggressive and increased cyberspying and cyberoperations that could potentially endanger German government officials, members of parliament, and employees of democratic parties,” Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the domestic BfV intelligence agency, said in a December 8 statement. The warning came two months after U.S. intelligence publicly accused Russia of directing cyberattacks against American political figures and organizations in order to interfere with the U.S. electoral process ahead of the November 8 presidential election.
Russia has repeatedly rejected accusations that it was behind those attacks. There was no immediate official response from Moscow to Maassen’s statement on December 8.
Maassen cited “increasingly aggressive cyberespionage” against German political entities as part of a mounting body of evidence “of attempts to influence the federal election next year.”
The BfV noted a “striking increase” in the number of attacks attributed to a hacking group known as Fancy Bear, which security experts have linked to Russian intelligence. The group has been blamed for the hacks of the U.S. National Democratic Committee this year and the German parliament in 2015.