German Elections 'Could be Hit By Cyberattacks'

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Could hackers influence the outcome of German elections? Public Domain

Hackers working for foreign governments or terror groups could threaten next year's German elections, according to a Munich-based security expert.

Wolfgang Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference, claimed in an op-ed published in the Bild newspaper on Sunday that powers like Russia and the Islamic State Militant Group (ISIS) were waging an "information war, which is aimed directly into the Achilles heel of our democracies."

He said that cyberattacks had targeted German parties, and questioned the motives behind such attacks, wondering if foreign enemies wanted "something in hand to have against critical voices, or even to influence the general election next year."

Ischinger called for an internationally binding law to tackle online crime and digital warfare. "International law must not only apply offline but online too," he argued.

Last week, German media reported that top German politicians were sent suspicious emails that government experts feared emanated from Russia.

Governments across the West are worried about foreign powers undermining them through cyberattacks. In the U.S., the issue has risen to the heart of the presidential election debate after Hillary Clinton accused Russia of supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.