A cyberattack on the German Greens, a member of the country’s ruling coalition, has compromised accounts previously used by Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, the party confirmed on Saturday.
The two green politicians were co-leaders of the party before reaching important ministerial posts: Baerbock is now Minister of Foreign Affairs, while Habeck is in charge of the economy and in particular the energy sector. After the start of the war in Ukraine in February, ministers played a key role in Berlin’s confrontation with Russia as Germany sought independence from Russian energy sources and to coordinate EU efforts to help Kyiv.
Twelve other accounts were also compromised – including those belonging to current party co-leaders Ricarda Lang and Omid Nouripour – and some emails were transferred out of the system, according to the Greens.
Baerbock and Habeck accounts inactive for months
The hack was first reported by German magazine Der Spiegel earlier this week. The magazine also cited early indications that the attack could have come from Russia. But the party declined to confirm this, citing an ongoing investigation.
“We informed the security authorities, the [German government’s] data protection officer, and made a police report,” a party spokesperson said.
The attack was first noticed on May 30, according to the party. They said Baerbock and Habeck had not actively used their party accounts since January and network logs showed no increase in traffic volumes that could indicate large amounts of data had been stolen.
According to Der Spiegel, federal investigators and authorities in Berlin, which is also one of Germany’s 16 states, have opened an investigation into possible spying and data tampering.
German politicians have been repeatedly targeted by hackers in recent years. A massive attack, reported in early 2019, targeted hundreds of people from all political backgrounds, including then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Chancellor’s communications were also intercepted by the US intelligence agency the NSA under President Barack Obama, one of several revelations made public by Edward Snowden in 2013.
dj/msh (dpa, Reuters, AFP)