Germany to fire cybersecurity chief over alleged ties to Russia

The news is sensitive at a time when Germany is facing possible acts of sabotage from Moscow. Berlin is set to fire the head of its cybersecurity agency over alleged contacts with Russian intelligence. Arne Schönbohm has been in the hot seat since media revelations reporting his proximity to a cybersecurity consulting association, itself suspected of contacts with Russian intelligence services.

Asked about a possible replacement of Arne Schönbohm, the Minister of the Interior kicked into touch Monday, October 10. “At this stage, I can only tell you that these are complaints that we take seriously”said Nancy Faeser during a press conference. “We will first review them and then implement the necessary measures.”

‘Absurd’ accusations

Arne Schönbohm is implicated because of his alleged contacts with an association called Cyber-Sicherheitsrat Deutschland. The latter, which he co-founded in 2012, advises businesses, government agencies and policy makers on cybersecurity issues. These links were the subject of investigations presented Friday evening in a program of the public television channel ZDF (in German).

One of the member companies of the association is more particularly targeted: it is Protelion, a subsidiary of the Russian cybersecurity company OAO Infotecs which, according to information from the “Policy Network Analytics” research network, has been founded by a former KGB collaborator.

Cyber-Sicherheitsrat Deutschland on Monday called accusations that she was under Russian influence a“absurd”. Its president Hans-Wilhelm Dünn announced in a press release that he had excluded “with immediate effect” protection of its members.

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