Germany protests to Russia over pre-election cyberattacks
BERLIN (AP) — Germany has protested to Russia over attempts to steal data from lawmakers in what it suspects may have been preparation to spread disinformation before the upcoming German election, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said Monday.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse said that a hacker outfit called Ghostwriter has been “combining conventional cyberattacks with disinformation and influence operations,” and that activities targeting Germany have been observed “for some time.”
She said that, ahead of Germany's parliamentary election on Sept. 26, there have been attempts - using phishing emails, among other things — to get hold of personal login details of federal and state lawmakers, with the aim of identity theft.
“These attacks could serve as preparations for influence operations such as disinformation campaigns connected with the parliamentary election,” she told reporters in Berlin.
“The German government has reliable information on the basis of which Ghostwriter activities can be attributed to cyber-actors of the Russian state and, specifically, Russia's GRU military intelligence service,” Sasse said. It “views this unacceptable activity as a danger to the security of the Federal Republic of Germany and for the process of democratic decision-making, and as a severe strain on bilateral relations.”
She said Germany calls on the Russian government to end such activity immediately, and has made that demand directly to Russian officials — most recently during a meeting on Thursday and Friday of a German-Russian working group on security policy, at which German deputy foreign minister Miguel Berger raised the issue with Russia's deputy foreign minister.
Sasse wouldn't comment on the extent of the cyberattacks or possible damage, saying only that they “are...