Russia cyber attack on Germany a ‘form of warfare’ validcces, stardumps24com
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Asuspected attack by Russian hackers on computer systems used by the German government is still ongoing and may be more serious than at first thought, MPs warned on Thursday.
Several MPs have compared the attack to a “form of warfare” against Germany and one briefed by intelligence officials said yesterday he feared Angela Merkel’s government was trying to downplay the seriousness of the damage.
So far the German government has been tight-lipped about the details of the attack. The interior ministry has confirmed that hackers managed to access secure government computer systems for over a year, but there has been no official word on what information was compromised or the identity of those responsible.
It has been widely reported in the German press that security officials believe the attack is is the work of Fancy Bear, a Russian hacking group thought to have links to Vladimir Putin’s intelligence services.
The parliamentary intelligence committee was briefed on the attack behind closed doors on Thursday, but committee members said they were not at liberty to discuss the details of what they were told.
“It’s still an ongoing attack and public discussions of the details would simply be a giving the attackers a warning we don’t want to give them,” Armin Schuster, the head of the committee, told reporters.
“It’s a veritable cyber attack on parts of the government network,” he said. “The loss of sensitive information alone already amounts to significant damage.”
Also known as APT28, Fancy Bear is believed to have links to Russian military intelligence. The group is thought to have been behind cyber attacks that targetted Nato headquarters and last year’s German and French elections, as well as a 2014 attack on the German parliament.
But the computer network compromised in the latest attack was supposed to be better protected: it is used by government departments and was thought to be one of the most secure in Germany.
According to initial reports data held by the foreign and defence ministries was targetted. The defence ministry said on Thursday that the armed forces had not been compromised, and the most serious damage is thought to have taken place at the foreign ministry.
The stark assessment given by MPs is in contrast to earlier reports, which suggested German security services had been aware of the attack and only allowed the hackers “controlled access” to the network in an attempt to catch them.
Dieter Janacek, an opposition Green MP and head of parliament’s digital policy committee, said the attack amounted to a “form of warfare” against Germany.