Fri, Mar 02, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Germany admits to an ‘isolated’ hack

Reuters, BERLIN

Germany on Wednesday said hackers had breached its government computer network with an isolated attack that had been brought under control and which security officials were investigating.

A spokesman for the German Ministry of the Interior said the affected government agencies had taken appropriate measures to investigate and protect data.

He did not comment on German media reports that the attack was launched by Russian hacker group APT28, which had already attacked the German parliament in 2015, resulting in the loss of data from the defense and foreign ministries.

“The attack was isolated and brought under control within the federal administration,” which manages government computer networks, the spokesman said in a statement.

He said authorities were addressing the incident “with high priority and significant resources.”

The spokesman said he could give no further details immediately due to security and analysis measures that were still under way.

German opposition lawmakers demanded government officials provide a detailed account of the incident, angry that they had learned of it through the media.

Dieter Janacek, a Greens lawmaker and head of the parliamentary committee on digital affairs, told the Berliner Zeitung that the latest incident amounted to “a form of warfare against Germany” and raised serious concerns about the security of government networks.

German security sources said authorities had been aware of the incident for some time, but denied media reports that the German Ministry of Defense and the military were affected.

Both the German parliamentary committee that oversees the intelligence agencies and the digital committee scheduled extraordinary meetings yesterday to discuss the attack, parliamentary sources said.

German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen declined to comment about the reports during an appearance in London.

News of the attack on German government computers came after repeated warnings by German intelligence officials about possible meddling by Russia in last year’s federal election.

The head of the German domestic intelligence agency last year said such attacks had not occurred, but the risk of interference remained until a new government is in place.

Social Democrats are voting by postal ballot on an agreement to form another “grand coalition” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, with the results to be made public on Sunday.

If they reject the deal, Germany could face new elections or the formation of a minority government for the first time in its post-war history.

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