Russia gives up pretense on spying in Germany. Guess who’s next?

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zero_day_logo__2__360In the article below from Reuters we can see that the Russian hackers are dropping all pretense about their origins. Calling themselves Cosy Bear and Fancy Bear, these two hacker groups are well known to emanate from the newly resurrected KGB and Russia’s military spying operation. They are beating up Germany with Zero Day Attacks (persistent malware) and they don’t care who knows it. Last week they shut down a million routers and closed the German Post Office. The German government is not very technically savvy and like the US (which still operates many high-security programs on floppy disks) is a sitting duck for hackers.

I have contacts in this world and I know that the former Warsaw Pact countries are very vulnerable right now. But while the Russians are about to launch a series of attacks in these countries, they are seriously gearing up to unleash hell on the US if we don’t play nice with Putin. They are sure to have our oil business and ports in their sights. As I have mentioned before there is a technology that can stop these attacks but the big anti-virus operations are deeply entrenched and it’s going to take a lot more than a few closed post offices to get national governments to treat these attacks for what they are: Cyber warfare. 

 

By Caroline Copley

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s spy chief has warned that Russian hackers are pelting his country with disinformation that could undermine the democratic process, echoing concerns already voiced by his domestic intelligence counterpart.

Bruno Kahl, the new head of Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service, compared the campaign in an interview published on Tuesday to misleading reports on social media before Donald Trump’s election as United States president.

The interview appeared in Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung as German officials puzzled over the source of a major disruption on Monday of internet traffic on Deutsche Telekom, the country’s largest telecoms operator.

Asked about political disinformation appearing in the U.S. and Europe, Kahl said he saw a Russian link in both cases.

“We have evidence of cyber attacks that have no other purpose than triggering political uncertainty,” he added. “The perpetrators are interested in delegitimising the democratic process as such, no matter who that subsequently helps.”

“These attempts to interfere focus on Europe, and on Germany especially,” he said. “A kind of pressure is being exercised on public discourse and democracy here, which is unacceptable.”

The head of Germany’s domestic BfV intelligence agency said earlier this month that authorities were worried that Russia may try to interfere in Germany’s elections next year by using misleading news stories.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she could not rule out Russia interfering in the vote through Internet attacks. Last week, she also warned that “bots” – software programs that bombard media websites – might manipulate public opinion by spreading fake news.

Merkel faces a growing challenge from the anti-immigrant AfD party, which has said the EU should drop sanctions on Russia and that Berlin should take a more balanced position towards Moscow.

Some critics say a proliferation of fake news helped sway the U.S. election in the favor of Republican Trump, who has pledged to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton accused Trump of being a Putin “puppet”.

ORIGIN OF TELEKOM ATTACK UNCLEAR

Deutsche Telekom has blamed disruptions experienced by hundreds of thousands of its customers on Monday on a failed hacking attempt to hijack consumer router devices for the purpose of a wider Internet attack.

The German Office for Information Security (BSI) said on Tuesday it believed organized crime was behind the attack and involved Mirai, a malicious software designed to turn network devices into remotely controlled bots that can be used to mount large-scale network attacks.

Both Merkel and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said there was no information on where the attack had come from.

De Maiziere said, however, that Germany had suffered attacks from private individuals and criminal groups in the past as well as from states like Russia and China.

“There is much to suggest that attacks in the past, for example on the German lower house of parliament were initiated by Russia,” he said.

Responding to the growing cyber threat, Germany approved an IT security law in 2015 that orders 2,000 providers of critical infrastructure to implement minimum security standards and report serious breaches or face penalties.

De Maiziere said Germany was exposed both to “technical attacks” like those on infrastructure and to “intelligent attacks” that can manipulate opinion.

He said Germany wanted to avoid machines sending out 10,000 protest emails – a typical bot operation – and was working on ways to combat this, partly through greater transparency.

“Behind every opinion, we want there to be a person and we need to explain who is driving these attacks, how they come about and what affect they have,” he said.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Tom Heneghan)