Germany’s domestic intelligence agency expects new cyber attacks targeting politicians and government officials ahead of federal elections. Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV agency, said spies are keeping a “very close watch” on threats as the country gears up for September’s vote. “We expect further attacks, and we are keeping a very close watch on the threats,” Mr Maassen told a cyber security conference in Potsdam. “We are finding increasingly aggressive cyber espionage.” He said his agency had detected and foiled repeated email phishing attacks directed at Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU party, and other attempts targeting politicians and institutions.
The Chancellor is bidding for a fourth term in office amid record levels of politically-motivated crime in Germany, where tensions over the refugee crisis, immigration and a string of Isis-linked terror attacks are running high.
“Large amounts of data” were seized during a previous attack on the Bundestag in May 2015, which was blamed on Russian hacking group APT28, and there are fears the information could now be used to influence the vote.
Mr Maassen also warned of a “disinformation” campaign, citing false stories on the rape of a German-Russian girl called Lisa that were spread by Russian media alongside several other prominent incidents of “fake news”.