Foreign hackers successfully infiltrated a German government network, targeting both the foreign and defense ministries, according to German media reports on Wednesday.
Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported that the foreign ministry had been targeted, while news agency DPA reported that the defense ministry had also been affected, citing unnamed security officials.
The interior ministry confirmed to SZ that authorities are “investigating an IT-security incident that concerns the information technology and networks of the government,” adding that the incident was isolated and under control.
According to DPA, securities officials believe the attack was carried out by Russian group APT 28 against a government communication platform, and hackers were able to plant malware as well as to obtain data. German security authorities became aware of the incident in December and the hack reportedly took place over a long period of time, possibly up to a year.
German authorities have been investigating since the discovery of the hack to determine how deep it went, according to DPA.
The group APT 28, which has been accused of having ties to the Kremlin, is also suspected of orchestrating a 2015 hack against the Bundestag, in which data was stolen from internal servers and hackers were able to roam the system freely for weeks.