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The computer system in the Bundestag in Germany has gone completely offline as of today (20th August), to allow it to carry out essential and important maintenance work.
This comes on the back of a recent cyberattack on the German parliament’s IT system – criminals, still unidentified, were able to breach its defences in May and install a trojan to its network.
Worryingly, it was reported at the time that four week on from the discovery, the Bundestag’s tech team were still struggling to deal with the incident, with data still “spilling out” of the system.
Deutsche Welle, an international broadcaster in Germany, explained that MPs will not be able to access their computers for four days. Additionally, there will be no access to its email server.
Constanze Kurz, a spokeswoman for the Chaos Computer Club, self-described as “Europe’s largest association of hackers”, described the incident as “embarrassing” for the Bundestag.
She also added that there is a lot of work to do to restore confidence in the system, irrespective of the updates that are currently underway: “We have to assume that the Bundestag was an open book to the attackers for months … it won’t be [a] simple [fix].”
This is not the first incident of cybercrime being directed towards the German government and its associated institutions.
Earlier this year, a group going by the name of CyberBerkut said that it was behind an attack that blocked access to a number of official websites, including the German chancellor Angela Merkel’s homepage and the Bundestag.
The group, who describe themselves as pro-Russian hacktivists, said that this was in response to Germany’s ongoing “financial and political support of criminal regime in Kiev”, a reference to the divisive and still ongoing Ukraine crisis.
Author Karl Thomas, ESET