Germany Blames Russia for Parliament Hack

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has pointed the finger at Russian intelligence agencies as the ones responsible for a comprehensive cyber attack on the German Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament.

Russian state-sponsored operatives were behind the massive cyber attack on Germany’s lower house of parliament last year, Germany’s intelligence agency said.

First revealed in May 2015, the attack on the Bundestag forced authorities to shut down the internal network for days after the it caused severe damage. 15 computers out of thousands were compromised in the lower house of the parliament. Despite the number being relatively small, the malicious hackers behind the attack were able to gain administrative authority which was then used to penetrate the entire network. The cyberattack was dubbed the “Sofacy/APT 28 campaign.”

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) lays the blame squarely at a hacking group dubbed “Sofacy”. The agency said that it “sees evidence of Russian state control” in the campaign that targeted the German parliament, one that used Trojan software.

In a statement, the agency said:

The Bfc has indications that it [Sofacy] is being steered by the Russian state and has been monitoring it for years.

The agency also pointed to another campaign named “Sandworm” which targeted a several industries.

“Besides targeting government posts, it was also aimed at telecommunications companies, energy providers, as well as higher education facilities,” the agency added.

The “Sandworm” hack may also be the malware behind the significant power outages induced by a cyber attack in Ukraine toward the end of 2015.

In a damning statement that is certain to sour diplomatic relationships between Germany and Russia, BfV president Hans-Georg Maassen said:

The campaigns that the BfV has observed in the past have generally been focused on obtaining information, in other words – spying.

But lately, Russian intelligence agencies have also shown a willingness to conduct sabotage.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.