Leading Firm In German Cybersecurity Council Reportedly Backed By Russian Intelligence

Apparently, it took a comedian to highlight the weakest links of Germany’s cybersecurity. German satirical host Jan Böhmermann uncovered that the “cybersecurity in Germany is in danger – and by the head of cyber security in Germany.”

In his late night satire show ZDF Magazin Royale, Böhmermann claimed that the Cybersecurity Council of Germany, founded by the President of the Federal Office for Information Security Arne Schönbohm, has a leading firm member called Protelion which is reportedly backed by Russian cyber company Infotecs. The latter works with the Russian intelligence services, the program explained.

“Russian agents use Infotecs, which sells security software to German companies in Germany under the name Protelion GmbH,” Böhmermann said.

“Protelion is currently sitting on the Cybersecurity Council of Germany… next to the important representatives of our critical infrastructure. Protelion aka Infotecs aka the buddies of the Russian intelligence service is where many important players from business and politics in Germany are dependent,” the German host added.

Infotecs is reportedly founded by ex-KGB officer Andrey Chapchaev.

Upon further review, German Marshall Fund fellow Jessica Berlin highlighted that since Protelion/Infotecs are baked in to Germany’s cybersecurity system, any vulnerabilities discovered by the firm can questionably be visible as well to Russian intelligence.

“This software has probably been installed at numerous German companies and corporations. Uninstalling it won’t solve the problem because it will have become so deeply embedded during the initial installation, you can’t get it out without re-installing everything else. Any company with the Protelion/Infotecs software can thus no longer be considered secure,” said the report cited by Berlin

At the request of ZDF Magazine Royale, Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI, dismissed the allegations, claiming there had been no interaction with Russian intelligence. However, in a 2019 interview, the current club chairman, Wilhelm Dünn, affirmed relations with Russia: “That is why it is so important to keep this communication with all relevant players, and of course also with Russia, China, and other states.”

Schönbohm is reportedly being replaced after the program aired, AFP reported, citing government sources.

Information for this briefing was found via Focus Online and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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