German spy chief says Russian hackers could disrupt elections

Introduction — Nov 29, 2016

Both Bruno Kahl and Angela Merkel have warned of cyber-attacks on the german 2017 elections. Click to enlarge

Both Bruno Kahl (left) and Angela Merkel have warned of cyber-attacks on the german 2017 elections. Click to enlarge

Prior to the recent U.S. presidential elections the White House and other U.S. government departments warned that Russian hackers might try to manipulate the results. Now the head of German intelligence is also warning of similar attempts to “interfere” with next year’s general election in Germany.
Are these warnings credible? Or are these just empty accusations in a face-off that is increasingly reminiscent of the Cold War?
Are Russian hackers really trying to disrupt elections in the West? Or are Western intelligence services involved in an attempt to manipulate the polls and blame Russia?
After all we know that Merkel is deeply unpopular in Germany right now, largely because of her open border immigration policy. Yet seemingly against the odds she has decided to try for a fourth term in the next election.
Does she think she can win the vote by electronically manipulating the outcome? As a ‘fail-safe’ does she intend to blame Russia if attempts to electronically rig the outcome are exposed?
We leave readers to decide but the correspondent in Germany who sent in the Guardian report, below, also sent in some pertinent observations:
On Sunday evening I began to hear reports on German Radio about how up to 900,000 (4% of 20,000,000) German Telekom customers had had their landline, Internet and Internet TV services interrupted.
The next day, (yesterday) it was reported  at first that the Telekom engineers had “no idea” what was wrong but that the cause was an “outside influence” not necessarily a deliberate “hack”.
In the evening News Bulletin there were Reports of Angela Merkel’s keynote speech at the event celebrating (?) the German Secret Service’s 60 years of co-operation with foreign Secret Services where she expressly mentioned hacking as a future threat.
German link here – http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/60-Jahre-BND-Merkel-fuer-Zusammenarbeit-mit-auslaendischen-Geheimdiensten-3506660.html
It is in the light of these two apparently unconnected events that I send you the following …

German spy chief says Russian hackers could disrupt elections

Kate Connolly — Guardian.co.uk Nov 29, 2016

The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service has warned that next year’s general election could be targeted by Russian hackers intent on spreading misinformation and undermining the democratic process.

Bruno Kahl, president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, said Russia may have been behind attempts during the US presidential campaign to interfere with the vote.

“We have evidence that cyber-attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung in his first interview since he was appointed five months ago.

“The perpetrators are interested in delegitimising the democratic process as such, regardless of who that ends up helping. We have indications that [the attacks] come from the Russian region.

“Being able to attribute it to a state agent is technically difficult but there is some evidence that this is at least tolerated or desired by the state.”

Kahl said the suspicion was that a large proportion of attacks were being carried out simply to demonstrate technical prowess. “The traces that are left behind in the internet create an impression of someone wanting to demonstrate what they are capable of,” he said.

Kahl joins a range of leading voices in Germany who have recently expressed their concerns over Russian interference, particularly through the spread of fake news stories.

Hans-Georg Maaßen, president of the domestic BfV intelligence agency, said in an interview that cyberspace had become “a place of hybrid warfare” in which Russia was a key player. “More recently, we see the willingness of Russian intelligence to carry out sabotage,” he said.

Continues …

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