German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wants to dismiss the head of the Federal Cyber Security Authority (BSI), Arne Schoenbohm, due to possible contact with people involved with Russian security services.
The news was reported by German media on Sunday, citing government sources.
According to an investigation conducted by broadcaster ZDF, Schoenbohm was in contact with Russia through an association that he co-founded in 2012, the Cyber Security Council of Germany.
The interior ministry is “taking the facts that have been reported seriously and investigating them comprehensively.” The ministry added it was “examining all options on how to deal with the situation”.
The Cyber Security Council Germany provides advisories on cyber security issued to businesses, government agencies, and policymakers.
Schoenbohm denied any ongoing contact with the organization and dismissed the charges are absurd allegations.
“Schoenbohm was a founder of the association, which counts as a member a German company that is a subsidiary of a Russian cybersecurity firm founded by a former KGB employee, they wrote.” reported Reuters.
Neither the interior ministry nor the BSI immediately replied to requests for comment.
“These accusations must be decisively investigated,” said Konstantin von Notz, the head of the parliamentary oversight committee for Germany’s intelligence agencies.
Germany has repeatedly accused Russia-linked threat actors of cyber attacks against its Parliament and infrastructure.
In 2015, Russia-linked hackers paralysed the computer network of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. The attack forced the entire institution offline for days while it was fixed.
Russia denied any accusation.
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(SecurityAffairs – hacking, BSI)