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Germany Warns of Russian Meddling in 2017 Elections

Hard on the heels of an official CIA assessment that Russian hackers intervened in the US election, German politicians are warning of the same threat in its general elections next year.

Wolfgang Bosbach, a senior MP in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party, said that the German election is at risk from "outside manipulation.”

Bosbach, quoted by the German daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger, said "there is a general danger—for the Bundestag 2017 election too—of influence-peddling via targeted infiltration from outside, with the goal of manipulating facts or opinions.”

Members of rival parties said that they feared Russian meddling as well, the BBC reported. The foreign affairs spokesman of the Social Democrats (SPD), Rolf Muetzenich, said, "unfortunately we cannot exclude such activities in Germany, either. In the election campaign we'll also have to confront distortions and fake stories."

And Stephan Mayer, home affairs spokesman of the conservative CSU party said, "there is a big danger that hacker attacks on parties and factions, and disinformation campaigns will increase. We must grapple with this urgently and arm ourselves with appropriate laws."

The intelligence force has said that it has detected ramped-up cyberespionage activities already, especially from the group known as Fancy Bear or APT28, affiliated with the Russian state. The BBC reported that Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany's BfV domestic intelligence agency, said last week that "We detect increasingly aggressive cyber-espionage. The indications of attempts to influence the German parliamentary elections next year are intensifying."

The news comes as President Obama has ordered a “full review” into alleged Russian state-sponsored hacking designed to influence the outcome of the recent US presidential election.

The outgoing commander-in-chief made the move on Friday following a CIA assessment shared with senators that it was now “quite clear” the Kremlin’s goal was to have Donald Trump elected.

“We may have crossed into a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what has happened and to impart some lessons learned,” Obama’s counter-terrorism and homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, told reporters.

Photo © Semen Lixodeev/Shutterstock.com

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