German federal agencies, known for their tight security, ended up hacked into by a Russian-linked attack group.
The group, known as Sofacy, APT28, Fancy Bear, and Pawn Storm, has been targeting global government institutions, political organizations and military/defense companies for quite a while.
The confirmation of the breach came from Johannes Dimroth, a spokesman for the German Interior Ministry, but he did not comment on the possible attacker.
The Russian connection came from German security forces in a published report on Dpa International.
The report went on to say government information technology and networks had been hit and that protective measures were being taken. Among the compromised networks are those of the foreign and defense ministries, the German Chancellery and the Federal Court of Auditors.
The ongoing investigation into the breach is led by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) and aided by Germany’s foreign intelligence service.
The breach was spotted in December, and it’s likely that the infiltration lasted for quite some time.
“The successful cyberattack makes clear that the government’s data network is not sufficiently protected. In light of the sensitivity of such information, this is an unacceptable condition,” said the committee spokesman Manuel Hoeferlin. It’s also unacceptable that officials had to learn of the hacking through media reports, he said.
“We expect the representatives of the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the federal agencies responsible for IT security to offer an explanation,” he added.