Google warns elite Russian hackers are targeting German politicians

Elite hackers linked to Russian intelligence targeted several German political parties last month to break into their networks and steal data, according to an alert issued by Germany’s cybersecurity agency and security researchers working for Google owner Alphabet. Was targeted.

In a report published on FridayAlphabet’s Mandiant cyber unit said it has captured a hacking group called APT29, which Western intelligence alleges was acting on behalf of Russia’s SVR foreign spy agency, after opening an email posing as an invitation. Was trying to trick “prominent German political figures”. At a March 1 dinner hosted by Germany’s center-right political party the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The same incident is mentioned in an alert circulated by Germany’s BSI cyber agency and reviewed by Reuters, which says state-backed cyber spies are targeting German political parties in an effort to gain long-term access and exfiltrate data. Were staying.

In a statement, the CDU said it has long been facing digital attacks from domestic and foreign actors.

“In this case too, we received very quick information about the attack,” the statement said. “There was no official CDU dinner on March 1, the event was imaginary.”

The alert did not provide further details about who was believed responsible and neither it nor Mandiant provided details about who specifically was targeted. BSI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Russian Embassy in Washington also did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

The BSI said in its alert that foreign powers were particularly interested in spying on politicians in the context of the “upcoming European elections”. Mandiant said the goal is in line with Moscow’s focus on its long-running conflict with Kiev.

“This latest target is not just about going after Germany or its politicians; it is part of a broader effort by Russia aimed at finding ways to undermine European support for Ukraine,” Mandiant’s Dan Black said in a statement. “

Germany is among the Western countries that have provided military assistance to Ukraine in its war with Russia. In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that relations between Berlin and Moscow were largely frozen.

Germany’s Der Spiegel First reported, Earlier on Friday over the alleged hacking campaign.