Germany Warns of Growing Espionage, Cyber Threats from Iran

Wednesday, 06/19/2024

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned on Tuesday about the increasing espionage and cyber threats from foreign adversaries, particularly Russia, China, and Iran.

"The threat to our democracy from espionage, sabotage, disinformation, and cyberattacks has reached a new dimension," Faeser stated while presenting an annual report by Germany's domestic intelligence agency in Berlin.

The report also highlighted Iran's intelligence operations in Germany, focusing on surveilling Iranian opposition groups and individuals, especially after the 2022 anti-government protests which shook Iran's government.

The German government also expressed concern over China's cyberattacks, describing espionage aimed at stealing research, commercial, political, and technological information as major objectives of Beijing's operations in the country.

The Russian military intelligence service is also identified as a group that conducted attacks against German political targets, including the Social Democratic Party, in 2023.

In August 2023, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany reported similar findings, highlighting the "attempts by Islamic Republic hackers to spy on regime opponents" in the country.

The government body named the group "Charming Kitten," affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), stating that Iranian government hackers create fake identities to target Iranian individuals and organizations active against the regime.

It is the latest state to name Iran as a major domestic threat. Last year, British security services said it was one of the country's biggest foreign threats with multiple plots foiled including assassination and kidnap. Israeli intelligence also revealed last year it had foiled dozens of plots against Jews and Israelis globally, while just last month, Swedish and Israeli intelligence revealed Iran-backed Europe-wide plots continue against targets such as Iranian dissidents and Israeli embassies.

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