A few days before the general election next Sunday, a hacker attack on the Federal Statistical Office is said to have occurred on Wednesday. Its boss is also the federal returning officer. This was reported by the business magazine Business Insider.
According to the sheet The Informationstechnik-Zentrum Bund (ITZBund), a central IT service provider for the federal administration, classifies the event as a “major incident”. Apparently a software (web shell) was installed on a program of the Federal Statistical Office on Wednesday. The software enables external access to servers and file systems. It was initially unclear whether data had been leaked. Investigations were underway into the exact circumstances. The Federal Office for Information Security classified the event as a cyber attack in connection with the federal election, it said.
No danger to the federal election
The quick identification of the damage shows that the security systems are working, a spokesman for the federal returning officer told the dpa news agency. “The internal election servers for determining the election results and the Federal Returning Officer’s website are operated in separate networks, so there is no danger in relation to the Bundestag election.”
It was only at the beginning of September that unknown persons paralyzed the Federal Returning Officer’s website. She received an extremely high number of hits from the Internet attacked and collapsed under the data load. In the meantime, the page was no longer accessible. However, servers important for the federal election were not affected, a spokesman assured at the time.
For weeks and months, experts have been warning that the upcoming general election is an “attractive target” for hacker attacks and fake news campaigns. You point again and again in the direction of Russia. Politicians and online services are also worried about disinformation campaigns that could affect the election results. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer considers it crucial in this context that the voting process takes place without voting machines. “Old School” protect the federal elections from IT attacks, according to Seehofer. Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel appreciates the overall system as “extremely resistant” a. The infrastructure for the federal election is state-of-the-art.