Russian hackers accessed emails from Merkel’s constituency office: Der Spiegel

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference after an online meeting with German state governors on the loosening of the restrictions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Berlin, Germany May 6, 2020. Michael Sohn/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) – Russia’s GRU military intelligence service appears to have got hold of many emails from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s constituency office in a 2015 hack attack on Germany’s parliament, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday, without citing its sources.

A spokesman for the German government had no immediate comment. There was also no immediate comment from Moscow, which has denied previous allegations of hacking abroad.

Der Spiegel said federal criminal police and the federal cyber agency had been able to partially reconstruct the attack and found that two email inboxes from Merkel’s office had been targeted.

They contained email correspondence from 2012 to 2015 and Der Spiegel said the hackers appear to have managed to copy both mailboxes to another computer.

Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament discovered its systems had been broken into in May 2015 and concluded that the intrusions had been continuing since at least the beginning of that year. It was impossible to determine what information had been stolen.

The Russian embassy in Berlin was not immediately available for comment.

German federal prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for an individual linked to the 2015 hacking incident, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported this week. Prosecutors have not commented on the report.

Reporting by Michelle Martin and Joseph Nasr; Editing by Alison Williams and Timothy Heritage

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