Dr Hans-Georg Maaßen

The President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Dr Hans-Georg Maaßen, pointed out at the Potsdam Conference on National Cyber Security that Germany's "national security situation [...] is increasingly dominated by the (inter)national cyber security situation." In Maaßen’s  view, the modern IT society provokes hostile attacks and continuously contributes to an "exorbitant expansion of the operational space."

Maaßen pointed out that cyber campaigns now function as a "standard tool of numerous intelligence services" and, given the lack of consequences, are often even considered a "first resort measure.”  The BfV president identified Iran, which had greatly expanded its activities after the Stuxnet attack, and Turkey, where a "nationalist hacktivist scene" was forming, as new players in cyberspace.

Regarding the current Russian APT attacks, his agency observed: "that some APTs are now being carried out very openly." People are "not even bothering to expose them, like APT-28 and Sofacy." Maaßen pointed out that this gives the impression that "the attackers don't care whether they are detected or whether attribution takes place.

Several times, the BfV chief pointed out that cyberattacks are no longer carried out just to actively attack: "In many cases of the sabotage attacks we detect, the intention is not to carry out an immediate act of sabotage, but rather to create preparatory actions,” Maaßen said. The BfV notes that attacks are carried out "to be present at the network nodes and to be inside the infrastructure, with the mentality of 'who knows what this is good for'.”