According to a statement made by a spokesperson for the foreign ministry in Berlin during a press conference on Monday, Russia is held responsible for a cyberattack that affected the German parliament.
The attack comes ahead of Germany’s parliamentary election on September 26th, just as it did in 2015 ahead of previous elections.
The newly elected parliament will determine who succeeds Angela Merkel after 16 years as Chancellor.
According to Germany, the Russia-based cyberattacks are a part of Moscow’s disinformation campaign to influence the results of this month’s general elections.
Deputy Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse said that Russian threat actors are believed to belong to the disinformation operation dubbed “Ghostwriter,” which is connected to Russia-based military intelligence.
The German government has reliable information according to which ghostwriter activities can be attributed to cyber protagonists of the Russian state or Russia’s GRU military intelligence (service).
According to media reports, seven members of Germany’s parliament were targeted in the cyberattack, all of whom belonged to the co-ruling Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), in addition to 31 other state legislators.
Germany Was Expecting a Russian Cyberattack
Based on previous attacks, Germany’s Interior Ministry predicted in June that the September elections might be targeted by Russian threat actors.
A few months ago, Thomas Haldenwang, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV stated his agency had noticed activity focusing on phishing attempts on the private email accounts of federal and state lawmakers and their staff.
Very few of these attempts were successful though.
Sasse said that such behavior was unacceptable and a threat to Germany. The federal government strongly urges the Russian government to cease these illegal cyber activities as soon as possible.
The federal government calls on Russia with every emphasis to put an immediate end to these activities.
The extent of the damage as a consequence of the cyberattacks is still unknown.