The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe stated that its headquarters in Vienna was subjected to a massive hacker attack. Western security services suspect that the attacks were organized by Moscow, and that Angela Merkel may be the attackers’ main target, Le Monde reported.
The OSCE officially refuses to make any assumptions about who might be behind the Internet pirates that took advantage of vulnerabilities in the operating systems used by employees of the organization. However, Le Monde, citing Western intelligence services, writes it is highly probable that the perpetrators of the attacks might be hackers from the Russian group APT28, also known as Pawn Storm, Sofacy and Fancy Bear.
The OSCE suspects that the attackers gained access to e-mails, passwords and some electronic records of its employees. "It seems that it happened in the end of October," said the official representative of the organization, Natacha Rajakovic while refusing to provide the details of what had happened.
Management of the headquarters in Vienna has informed all the 57 Member States of the OSCE about the attack; however, it did not want to make this fact public.
The newspaper reminds readers that it was exactly this group of hackers that, according to the French secret services, carried out a large-scale act of piracy against TV5-Monde, the French state TV channel in April 2015. The attacks on the pre-election headquarters of the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were imputed to the same hackers as well. The OSCE, which has played a key role since 2014 in maintaining the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, is of great interest to the cyber-attackers from the Kremlin, Le Monde writes.
However, the true object of this attack may be the German authorities, said the experts interviewed by the newspaper, taking into account the fact that Berlin is chairing the OSCE until the end of the year. Next year Germany will hold parliamentary elections, in which Angela Merkel hopes to get another mandate to form a government. Meanwhile, the Kremlin considers her to be the "last obstacle" in the way of lifting the sanctions from Russia.
According to Le Monde, the German intelligence services are preparing for possible hacker attacks from Moscow.