Germany is focus of Russian cyber attacks, warns spy chief

“Europe is in the focus of these disturbances, and Germany particularly so,” Bruno Kahl told the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily in an interview published a day after Deutsche Telekom said hackers disrupted internet services for almost one million of its clients.

Kahl said there are indications that “cyber attacks are taking place with no reason other than to sow political uncertainty.”

Asked if he agreed with Washington’s assessment that Russia had sought to interfere in the US elections through cyber attacks, Kahl said that “there are indications that that came from this front.”

“Attributing to a state actor is technically difficult. But there is some evidence that this is at least tolerated or desired by the state,” he added.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had said early in November that Russia could try to influence Germany’s general elections next autumn through cyber attacks or disinformation campaigns.

Meanwhile, hackers brought down or partially disrupted internet services for around 900,000 of Deutsche Telekom clients on Sunday.

Telekom said that it expected the disrupted services to be completely resolved on Tuesday.

“The number of acutely affected routers has dramatically decreased from 900,000, and we assume that today we will not see any more problems,” a company spokesman told broadcaster RBB-Inforadio.

The company and the Federal Office for Information Security said that the outage could be traced back to a worldwide attack on routers.

Telekom had already largely solved the problem with the Speedport routers on Monday afternoon.

“The malware was poorly programmed and had not functioned or performed as it should have,” said the company spokesman.

“Otherwise the consequences of the attack could have been much worse.”

Quoting unnamed security experts, Tagesspiegel daily said the attack may have been carried out by Russian hackers.

In September, several political parties were targeted with fake emails purporting to be from NATO headquarters but which in fact contained a link that installed spying software on victims’ computers.

The German parliament also fell victim in a 2015 attack that security services have since blamed on Russia.

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