Germany’s chancellor has lamented what she claimed was irrefutable proof of a Russian “hacking attack” on her Bundestag office but said she is working day and night to fix relations with Moscow despite the “painful” incident.
Chancellor Angela Merkel accused Russia of carrying out an online intrusion into her Bundestag constituency office back in 2015, as she spoke to MPs on Wednesday.
“I can honestly say that it hurts me,” she said of the alleged hack attack, claiming there is “hard evidence” that some unspecified “Russian forces” were behind the theft of data, based upon the results of a “properly done” investigation.
Still, Merkel said she is working hard to foster diplomatic ties between Moscow and Berlin “every day,” even if the hacking activity doesn’t make it any easier.
Russia denied the allegations when they first emerged back in 2015, and has continued to do so in the years since. However, Moscow is yet to comment on Merkel’s fresh remarks.
When asked about the possible consequences of Moscow’s so-called “hybrid warfare strategy,” the chancellor used unusually harsh language, threatening that “[Germany], of course, will always reserve the right to take measures, including against Russia.”
The chancellor’s words came on the heels of a report by Spiegel magazine linking the 2015 online assault to Russian military intelligence. Culprits, it suggested, were able to get away with over 16 gigabytes of data, which include thousands of inbox messages originating from the chancellor’s Bundestag office.
According to Spiegel, the hackers apparently copied the emails to another computer. It was only in May 2015 that the Bundestag discovered its networks were breached; it was concluded that the hack attacks had been happening since at least the beginning of that year.
While the magazine heavily cited the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) among their sources, the agencies in question kept silent on the matter. The German government, in turn, didn’t confirm the authenticity of the report, until Merkel herself addressed it in her speech Wednesday.
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