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Russia rejects claims it was behind cyberattack on Bundestag in 2015 — diplomat

Russia flatly rejects accusations hurled at it for an alleged involvement in a hacker attack on Germany’s Bundestag in 2015, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

“We strongly reject Germany’s proofless allegations about the involvement of Russian government entities in a hacker attack on the German Bundestag in 2015,” she said.

According to the diplomat, Russia is ready to look into the data obtained by Germany from the US regarding a cyberattack on the Bundestag in 2015, if it does exist.

“Since 2015, the German side has not only failed to furnish any proof of Russia’s guilt, but it has also failed to explain even once what the accusations hurled at our country are based on,” Zakharova said. “Now, the German authorities are referring to certain ‘reliable evidence’ obtained by Berlin, according to German media, from — and here’s the thing — the US,” she went on to say.

“If the German side indeed has documented proof of anybody’s guilt, which it received from Washington, the Russian side is ready to consider it. Special mechanisms exist for exchanging such data,” she added.

If this information is not furnished, Moscow will regard this as “unfounded accusations against Russia,” Zakharova stressed. There have been no official inquiries from Germany as of yet, either through the diplomatic channels, or through the Russian national coordinating center for computer incidents.

“We strongly reject Germany’s proofless accusations concerning the involvement of Russian government entities in a hacker attack on the German Bundestag in 2015,” she said.

Situation around the cyberattack

In early May, German Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office issued an international arrest warrant for Russian national Dmitry Badin, suspected of complicity in the cyberattack on Bundestag networks in 2015. The German law enforcement officers believe that Badin is a member of the Fancy Bear hacker group.

The cyberattack on the Bundestag networks began on April 30, 2015. Many German lawmakers received similar emails sent from addresses, making them look as if they were sent by the United Nations. The emails contained a hyperlink, clicking on which downloaded a spy program to the system. In a bid to stop its spread, German cyber security operators had to temporarily shut off the entire Bundestag IT system. At least 16 Gigabytes of data, including the lawmakers’ emails, were stolen in the attack.

Russia repeatedly denied allegations of involvement in the attack. No German security agency has ever provided any evidence in support of media reports about cybercriminals’ alleged links with Moscow.

German Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas claimed that the investigators are in possession of proof that a Russian national, in cooperation with other people, had conducted a hacker attack on the Bundestag in the interests of the Russian intelligence.

He claimed this in an interview for Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper, published by the German Federal Foreign Office Thursday.

“There is concrete and indisputable evidence that a Russian national, together with other people, conducted a hacker attack on the Germany’s Bundestag in spring 2015 for the Russian intelligence,” the minister claimed. According to Maas, the evidence was used to issue an arrest warrant against the Russian national.

“This is categorically not about political condemnation, which the Russian media keep talking about,” Maas believes. He stressed that Germany intends to launch a procedure of imposition of sanctions against people and organizations responsible for the attack within the European Union.

“It is simultaneously clear that we still seek to preserve the constructive-critical dialogue with Moscow on such foreign policy issues as the conflict in East Ukraine, or Libya, or Syria,” the foreign minister said.

Speaking about US President Donald Trump’s plans to invite Russia to a G7 summit this year, Maas repeated that Washington’s partners expect more information on what format the US wants to conduct the summit in, recalling that Crimea’s accession to Russia has become the reason the G7 format was reinstated.

“Up until today, nothing changed,” Maas noted.

Original: TASS