- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Russian hackers may attempt to interfere in Germany’s 2017 general election as they allegedly did with the U.S. presidential race, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Tuesday.

Speaking alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at a news conference in Berlin, the German leader raised concerns about the Kremlin meddling in next year’s race in a manner not unlike the cyberattacks and email leaks sustained by the U.S. political system prior to the Nov. 8 presidential election.

“We are already, even now, having to deal with information out of Russia or with internet attacks that are of Russian origin or with news which sows false information,” Ms. Merkel said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Countering Russian interference has already become “a daily task,” Ms. Merkel said, and could become increasingly challenging as Germany’s own general election nears.

“So it may be that this could also play a role during the election campaign,” she said.

The Obama administration last month said it was confident that recent intrusions and email leaks suffered by organizations and individuals tied to the U.S. Democratic Party were directed by the Russian government in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Nov. 8 general election, including the large-scale compromise that resulted in the publication of thousands of internal Democratic National Committee emails on the eve of its nominating convention.

Security researchers have since linked the hackers behind the DNC breach to similar compromises, including the attack that led to the leaking of emails stolen from John Podesta, the chairman of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Those hacks and others have been attributed with an alleged Kremlin-sponsored hacking group known to researchers by names including “Fancy Bear” and “Apt 28,” among others, and Germany’s intelligence agency, BfV, said previously that it believed the same hacker group had launched attacks against its Parliament and ruling part.

Ms. Merkel was asked a question concerning whether Germany could be subject to a similar state-sponsored campaign ahead of its August 2017 general election when she acknowledged her concerns with Russian interference at Tuesday’s event, AFP reported. She has not yet announced whether she’ll run for re-election in next year’s race.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and others in Moscow have rejected accusations concerning their alleged role in hacking U.S. targets.

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