German parliament may need to replace all software and hardware after hack

Some parliamentarians are refusing help from German intelligence services, a report said

All software and hardware in the German parliamentary network might need to be replaced. More than four weeks after a cyberattack, the government hasn't managed to erase spyware from the system, according to a news report.

Trojans introduced to the Bundestag network are still working and are still sending data from the internal network to an unknown destination, several anonymous parliament sources told German publication Der Spiegel.

In May, parliament IT specialists discovered hackers were trying to infiltrate the network. So far, they have been unable to mitigate the attack.

People in parliament are already talking about a possible replacement of the whole system, according to Der Spiegel. In addition to the internal network's software, the hardware may have to be replaced as well, an operation that would take months and cost millions of euros.

After the attack, part of the parliament's traffic was routed over the federal government's more secure data network by the Federal Office For Information Security, Der Spiegel reported. Some Germans suspect that the Russian foreign intelligence service SVR is behind the attack.

On Thursday, the parliament will discuss how to address the situation.

Parliamentarians will have to decide if they want to call in the help of counterintelligence experts from the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), the domestic intelligence service of Germany.

Some members of parliament have expressed concerns about the involvement of the BfV, Der Spiegel reported. Some are also refusing help from the foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, because the agency would gain access to the legislative process.

Armin Schuster, a member of parliament for the CDU, criticized those concerns. Schuster told Der Spiegel that he thinks it is "crazy" that some would rather be spied upon by a foreign intelligence agency then letting their own agencies help.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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Loek Essers

IDG News Service
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