German media is reporting that German authorities are preparing against foreign influence operations, cyber attacks, and disinformation campaigns ahead of federal elections in September. According to a FAZ report:
May 26, 2021 The security authorities are preparing for cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns in connection with the federal election. The threats are greater than in the past, said Arne Schönbohm, President of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), on Tuesday. He cited advancing digitization as the reason for this. More and more people are using the Internet to find out more, and online communication has become even more important during the pandemic. It can be assumed that attempts at manipulation, as in the American presidential election campaign, “also in Germany as the most economically powerful power in Europe” are attractive to attackers. Schönbohm described the dangerous situation as “complex”. The BSI President warned of malfunctions and attempts at sabotage by Trojan programs. The attack on Microsoft’s Exchange Server is also a persistent problem. In Germany there are 65,000 such servers, and 4,000 are still not “patched”, meaning that cybercriminals can attack them. Hackers could also try to take over politicians’ accounts and give false information there or access, falsify and publish sensitive data. [Translated with Google Translate]
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Germany’s internal intelligence agency has recently identified Russia, China, and Iran as the principal foreign actors carrying out cyberattacks against German agencies and interests.
In March, we reported that an EU study found that Germany is the main focus of Russian disinformation efforts in Europe.