Russia-linked Hackers Target German Political Foundations

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Hackers with connections to Russia have tried to spy on German political foundations associated with the country’s largest parties, according to security experts.

The Friedrich Ebert and the Konrad Adenauer Foundations were targeted by hackers in March and April this year, Feike Hacquebord of IT security company Trend Micro told Reuters news agency.

A hacker group, dubbed “Pawn Storm” by the company, set up a server in Germany from where fake email were sent out to employees of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which is associated with Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats.

According to Mr. Hacquebord, a computer in the Ukraine was used in attempts to spy on the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is linked to the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The cyber spy group, also known Fancy Bear or Apt 28, apparently targeted the foundation’s employees with email phishing tricks and attempts to install malware.

“I am not sure whether those foundations are the actual target. It could be that they used it as a stepping stone to target, for example, the CDU or the SPD,” Hacquebord said.

Pawn Storm, which experts and former U.S. government officials have linked to Russian military intelligence agency GRU, is trying to gather material to influence the federal election in September, the researcher said.

Campaigners working for Emmanuel Macron, the favorite to win France’s presidential election next month, have also been targeted by the spy group, Mr. Hacquebord said on Monday.