Germany 'assumes' Russian Federation trying to influence parliamentary election - govt report

German chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term in the 24 September general elections
German chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term in the 24 September general elections
Author

04 July, 2017

"The consequences for our country range from weakened negotiating positions to high material costs and economic damage all the way to impairment of national sovereignty", said the report, obtained by Reuters.

The report said cyber attacks not only destroy information but also triggers "silent, ticking digital time bombs" that has the potential to manipulate data and sabotage critical infrastructure.

The report specifically mentions Russian Federation, saying it is "assumed" that Moscow is attempting to influence Germany's upcoming parliamentary election on September 24.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said in its annual report that after suspected manipulation of the United States and French elections by Moscow, it was to be expected that Germany would be next.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the government is working on protecting the German firms, especially economics ministries, military, space and research institutes that have been affected the most. The head of the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI) said the hack was "so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone".

BfV chief Hans-Georg Maassen said while he could imagine that Russian president Vladimir Putin "would be happier with another chancellor" than Angela Merkel, the true target of the cyberattacks was Germans' "faith in democracy". De Maiziere noted that Germany's security services had already observed data from computers at the parliament being scooped up, which he said "could be published in the coming weeks".

Media reports about Russia's alleged interference in foreign elections were spurred on by the USA 2016 presidential election.

Russian Federation denies it has been in any way involved in the cyber attacks. It has named Russia, China and Iran as the main countries that spy on Germany.

Hillary Clinton has said that Russian hacking of her campaign's emails was partly to blame for her defeat in last year's USA presidential election to Donald Trump.

It claims that Turkey targeted backers of the banned separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey blamed for the attempted coup.

It accuses Chinese intelligence of using social media sites including Facebook and LinkedIn to try to recruit Western informants.


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