The next German parliamentary elections are on September 24 and, while most are interested in whether Angela Merkel will still be Chancellor, a German cybersecurity watchdog warns of possible cyberattacks meant to interfere with the outcome of the elections.
“We are noticing attacks against government networks on a daily basis,” Arne Schoenbohm, president of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
BSI has already identified suspicious activity around government websites, including daily assaults. For now, information about alert level types and intensity has not been revealed.
Russian interference in US presidential elections last year has raised awareness among European officials who have in turn recommended extra security and a higher alert level. Only last week, UK Government Communications Headquarters pointed a finger at Russian hackers and accused Russian leaders of state-sponsored cyberattacks to shake up British democracy and general elections.
“This is not just about the network security of political parties’ own systems. Attacks against our democratic processes go beyond this and can include attacks on parliament, constituency offices, think tanks and pressure groups and individuals’ email accounts,” said Ciaran Martin, chief executive of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), according to the BBC.
Earlier this year, Hans-Georg Maassen, president of BfV, Germany’s domestic security agency, expressed his concern about the growing cyber risk countries face due to digital technologies, and demanded better security strategies.
“We think it’s essential that we don’t just act defensively, but that we are also able to attack the enemy so that he stops continuing to attack us in the future,” Maasen said.