German politicians have denounced a Russian cyberattack on its government computer systems as “a form of warfare,” Deutsche Welle reports.
Emergency meetings of the Bundestag’s digital affairs and intelligence committees were called after German media reported that the Russian-backed hacking group APT28 raided the foreign and defense ministries.
APT28, also known as Fancy Bear, is linked to Russian military intelligence, according to German and U.S. authorities. It was blamed for the theft and release of private emails from the Democratic Party during the U.S. presidential campaign and a cyber attack on the Bundestag in 2015.
“If it turns out to be true it is a form of warfare against Germany,” Dieter Janacek from the Green party, head of the Bundestag digital affairs committee, told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry told Reuters the attack has been “isolated and brought under control”, and that authorities are working on addressing the incident “with high priority and significant resources.”
Authorities have given no indication of how much data had been intercepted or stolen, and declined to comment on the contents of any data that may have been compromised.
The hackers reportedly infiltrated the government’s “Informationsverbund Berlin-Bonn” (IVBB) network, a specially designed communications platform which is separate from other public networks to ensure a supposed added layer of security. It’s used exclusively by the chancellery, the German parliament, federal ministries, the Federal Audit Office and several security institutions in Berlin and Bonn; the former German capital where some ministries still have offices.
The government said it receives roughly 20 attempted hacking attacks per day, while German intelligence services also carry out penetration tests once per week.
The German government reportedly receives “around 20 attempted hacks per day”, and intelligence services perform network penetration testing once a week.