EXCLUSIVE: Hackers steal data from German parliament

By on 28/05/2015

Hackers have been able to steal data from the German government as part of a “massive cyber attack” that has now lasted for almost a month, Global Government Forum has learnt.

Hackers have been accessing the IT systems of the German Bundestag – the lower house of the German parliament – since the beginning of May, according to a letter sent to parliamentarians, seen today by Global Government Forum.

The letter sent on 21 May by Norbert Lammert, president of the Bundestag, states that “there has been a massive attack on the IT system of German Bundestag since the beginning of May”, but that it has not been possible to fully determine the extent of the attack.

It also says that “measures have been taken to counter-act the attack” and that, “despite public speculation, there has been no evidence of data loss from the networks of the German Bundestag.”

However, a spokeswoman for the German Bundestag told Global Government Forum at 13:00 GMT today that, “since then, isolated cases of data loss have been detected.”

She said that the offices affected have been informed and that countermeasures have been taken.

The spokeswoman said she could not reveal any more detail on the kind of data or the nature of the attack for security reasons.

Parliamentarians from the opposition as well as the ruling party have told German media that they are not being given sufficient information about the attack by Bundestag IT professionals or the organisation’s administration.

Die Zeit newspaper reported on 21 May that MPs fear that the attack is staged by American secret service which wants to find out what the Germans know about its work.

In January, German government websites, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s page, were hacked in an attack claimed by a group demanding Berlin end support for the Ukrainian government, shortly before their leaders were to meet.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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