German military fended off 300K cyberattacks so far this year

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Lt. Gen. Ludwig Leinhos (left) will lead the new German cyber command. (Photo Credit: Schrief/German Ministry of Defence)

Amid fears of Russian hackers increasing their rate of cyberattacks, the head of the German military’s new cyber command revealed that military computers have been hit with nearly 300,000 attacks so far this year, reports International Business Times.

Lt. Gen. Ludwig Leinhos, head of the new cyber command, did not offer details on the type of cyberattacks that targeted the sensitive computers, but the German military indicated that classified material was not compromised.

To address the increasing threat, the new cyber command is rapidly expanding. The team will be initially comprised of 250 personnel, but is expected to grow to 13,500 personnel by mid-2017 and reach a total force number of 14,500 by 2021.

“The expansion of cyber capabilities is an essential contribution to the government’s overall security posture,” a military spokesperson said in a statement.

Multiple alleged cyberattacks by Russian hackers that have targeted election campaigns, politicians and government institutions have left world leaders reeling.

Fancy Bear, a known hacking group, is responsible for at least two major attempted cyberattacks against Germany. One of the attacks, which occurred in 2016, targeted political parties with emails designed to look like they came from NATO.

The U.S. intelligence community said in January that Russian president Vladimir Putin likely played a role in the U.S. presidential campaign, undermining American democracy and propelling Donald Trump into the White House.

“We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including US allies and their election processes,” warned a 25-page report.

Angel Merkel, German chancellor, noted that fending off cyberattacks had become a daily task. Hackers spread misinformation and leaked documents in the U.S. presidential election last year, leaving Merkel concerned that the same tactics may be used in Germany’s upcoming election.