Germany's domestic intelligence agency has warned that Russia is trying to destabilize the country with propaganda campaigns and cyber attacks.
The Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Bfv) agency is warning comes prior to the country’s general elections, which would be held in few months. "There is growing evidence for attempts to influence the federal election next year." Agency chief Hans-Georg Maassen said in a statement Thursday.
His agency has noticed an increase in "aggressive cyber-espionage" targeting German politicians. "We see aggressive and increased cyberspying and cyberoperations that could potentially endanger German government officials, members of parliament, and employees of democratic parties," head of the domestic BfV intelligence agency said.
"Automated opinion forming" with so-called bots could be used to spread fake news on social media, Maassen said.
"We have observed a broad array of Russian propaganda instruments and enormous use of financial resources to target Russian speakers, policymakers, and political groups in Germany with disinformation campaigns," The BfV was quoted as saying by RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
Russia has also been accused for the hacking and release of Democratic National Committee emails before the US presidential election. On the contrary, Russia had strongly denied its involvement in orchestrating cyber attacks on foreign soil.
"Believe me, we're expecting cyberattacks during election campaigns, every election campaign in Russia." Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said last month.
"These cyberattacks also happen, and believe me, there are also people behind those tens of thousands of cyberattacks who work from Germany just like other European countries." Putin added.