BERLIN — The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office office in Germany said Friday it was investigating who used to be responsible for a wave of hacking attempts targeting lawmakers amid growing concern that Russia is trying to disrupt Sept. 26 vote for An new government.
The move by the public prosecutor office comes after Germany’s foreign ministry this week said it had protested against Russia and complained that several state legislators and members of the federal parliament has been the target of phishing emails and other attempts to steal passwords and other personal information information.
Those allegations prompted the federal prosecutor to open a preliminary investigation against what was described as a “foreign” power.” The prosecutors did not identify the country, but they did quote the statement from the State Department, leaving little doubt over existed that their efforts were concentrated on Russia.
In their statement, the prosecutors said they had opened an investigation”in link with the so-called Ghostwriter campaign”, a reference to a hacking campaign die German intelligence says can be attributed to the Russian state and specifically to the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU
Russia was found to have hacked in the German parliament‘s computer systems in 2015 and three years later, the violate the German government’s main data network. Chancellor Angela Merkel protested over both attack, but her government struggling to find an appropriate answer, and the case of Russian hacking is now particularly sensitive, coming soon in the weeks before Germans go to the polls to choose a successor after her nearly 16 years in power.
“The German government regards this unacceptable action as a threat to security of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Democratic decision-making process, and as a heavy last on bilateral relations,” Andrea Sasse, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: on Wednesday. “The federal government urges met cling to the Russian government to stop these illegal cyber activities with immediately effect.”
Mrs Merkel is not walking for re-election and will leave office after a new government is being formed, which means the election will be crucial in determine Germany future — and shaping the relationship with Russia.
Of the three candidates die Mrs Merkel are most likely to replace, Annalena Baerbock of the Greens, who has pledged to take the strictest stance against Moscow, has been the target of the most aggressive misinformation campaign.
The other two candidates — Armin Laschet of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, and Olaf Scholz of the social democrats, currently Mrs Merkel’s Vice Chancellor and Finance minister — have served in three of Merkel’s four governments, and neither will affect Berlin’s relationship met Moscow change.
Ms Merkel issued tough economic sanctions against Moscow after the 2014 invasion of Ukraine despite some opposition in other capitals and at home, but she has also worked hard to keep the lines of communication to Moscow opened.
The two countries have significant economic ties, not in the last place: in the energy market, where they most recently collaborated on build of a direct natural gas pipeline, die the Russian energy company Gazprom announced was completed on Friday.
US intelligence agencies believe that “Ghost Writer“, a Russian program which got its nickname from a cybersecurity company, was active in to spread false information over the coronavirus before the 2020 US presidential election, efforts die if a refinement of what Russia tried to do during the 2016 campaign.
But attempts to interfere in previous German election campaigns were limited, partly because of respect for Mrs Merkel, but also because the extreme right and populist parties die Have originated in France and Italy have failed to get that much traction in Germany.
German intelligence services remain concerned that their country, Europe’s largest economy and a leader in the European Union, is not immune to outside forces die trying to disrupt its democratic norms.
Russia’s state-funded external broadcaster, RT, runs An online-only German-language service that for years has emphasized division social problems, including: public health precautions to prevent the spread in to checkers of the coronavirus and migration.
While visiting Moscow last month, Ms Merkel denied allegations that her government had pressured neighboring Luxembourg to block a license application from the station, which would have made it possible broadcast to be programs for German viewers via satellite.
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