• Germany's news in English
 

Cheap software led to police hack

Published: 16 Jul 2011 11:01 GMT+02:00

This month's attack on police servers by the "No Name Crew" hackers had much more serious consequences than previously thought, according to a report in news magazine Focus.

According to the magazine, the government's newly founded cyber-defence department, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) reported internally on Friday that every single server of the police's spy programme "Patras" had been infiltrated by hackers.

Patras is used to locate serious criminals and terrorist suspects by gathering information from GPS systems in cars and mobile phones. It is used by both state and federal police forces, as well as Germany's customs officers.

Following the cyber-attack, which took place earlier this month, all of the relevant servers had to be shut down to prevent more data being stolen.

According to the internal BSI report to the German interior ministry, the "No Name Crew" even hacked the central database of the federal police, in Swisstal-Heimerzheim in North Rhine-Westphalia.

This could lead to hundreds of confidential police investigations appearing on the internet. "That is pretty much the worst thing that could happen," an anonymous security officer told Focus.

The report said the hack came about because the police did not adequately protect its servers, using what was described as "cheap protection software." It also said that "fundamental security measures" such as "dealing with passwords" had been ignored.

The No Name Crew had previously hacked the servers of the far-right National Democratic Party and published sensitive information including a list of its donors.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:27 July 16, 2011 by harcourt
Nice to see that the police are saving us money. However I think in this case it is a little short-sighted !!
20:13 July 16, 2011 by DrStrangelove
If you think you can rely on some commercial software, be it cheap or expensive, for protection of your servers, then you clearly have no clue about your job. Protection of networks has to be done manually, at the level of ips, ports, files and folders.

The bit of "improper dealing with passwords" fits the picture of cluelessness. Way to go, German police!

Now let's hear german-guardian on how the German police have indeed acted brilliantly in this affair.
23:55 July 16, 2011 by pepsionice
So let me ask the questions. First, the guy running your IT protection business....same guy that you hired from ten years ago....right? You paid for how many additional training courses over the average year for your IT department (I'm guessing none). New blood brought into the IT department every year or two (I'm guessing not)? The top ten policemen in the organization.....do they even have firewalls or virus-checkers on their laptops at home?

The nice thing? These punks were proud of finding this. The Russian mafia guys who likely got into your system last year? They didn't want to leave any evidence of what they'd found or taken.
04:50 July 17, 2011 by Asgarli
There is indeed a big shortage in qualified professionals in Germany.
11:25 July 17, 2011 by Englishted
@DrStrangelove

So you don't like him either ,we should start whatever is opposite of a fan club.
12:30 July 17, 2011 by harcourt
Englishted: You've just got another member !!
15:13 July 17, 2011 by DrStrangelove
Englishted: Where can I get the T-shirt?

Seriously though, I wish there was a way to educate people like him, rather than get into stupid arguments with them.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of one's national heritage and identity - I think it is a natural impulse for most, or at least many of us. However, we should not allow this impulse to cloud our thinking and perception of reality.

As an expat German who has lived in Canada for the last 10 years, I can recommend immersing yourself into a different culture for a while. It quite naturally gives you a new and better perspective of your own nation's strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of others. Canada has a relaxed and tolerant atmosphere, a very good balance of work and life and a mostly optimistic outlook that you don't find in Germany. On the other hand, Germany has a level of professionalism (notwithstanding the topic of the current story - LOL) that I sometimes miss in my workplace here.

So, german-guardian, if you read this, please consider one friendly piece of advice: Live in another country for a while, and try to take in your surroundings with an open mind.
17:08 July 17, 2011 by harcourt
Dr Strangelove you are absolutely right. The old saying travel broadens the mind is so true. But one should be careful not to see ones home country through rose tinted spectacles. When you've been away for some time, things can change back home and one can get a bit of a shock on return, to live ( not to visit)
Today's headlines
Greece crisis
Merkel: 'still no basis' for aid to Greece
Angela Merkel arriving in Brussels on Tuesday. Photo: EbS

Merkel: 'still no basis' for aid to Greece

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel offered no new insights into her thinking as she arrived in Brussels for a meeting of eurozone government heads on Tuesday, saying that it was up to Greece to make a move and show willing. READ  

Mafia suspects arrested at Lake Constance
Lke Constance, a 'stronghold' of the mafia. Photo:DPA

Mafia suspects arrested at Lake Constance

Police arrested eight Italian citizens on Tuesday morning at Lake Constance in Baden-Württemberg on suspicion of involvement in the ’Ndrangheta, Calabria’s feared mafia organisation. READ  

Greece crisis
Voters back Schäuble's hard line on Greece
Wolfgang Schäuble in the Bundestag. Photo: DPA

Voters back Schäuble's hard line on Greece

A poll published on Tuesday shows that at the peak of their tough talk towards Greece, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble have been earning even greater confidence from German voters. READ  

'Hackers' give orders to German missile battery
Bundeswehr soldiers operating a Patriot missile launcher. Photo: DPA

'Hackers' give orders to German missile battery

German-owned Patriot missiles stationed in Turkey were briefly taken over by hackers, according to media reports on Tuesday. READ  

Workers dismantle Frankfurt Euro sculpture
A worker on a crane removes stars from the Euro sculpture in central Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Workers dismantle Frankfurt Euro sculpture

As a possible Greek exit from the eurozone looms ever larger, threatening to change the face of the euro forever, the currency's home city of Frankfurt is giving its famous Euro sculpture a much-needed facelift. READ  

Auschwitz trial
Prosecutors seek 3-1/2 year sentence
Oskar Gröning was an SS guard at Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Prosecutors seek 3-1/2 year sentence

German prosecutors on Tuesday said they were seeking three and a half years' jail time for a former SS officer known as the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz". READ  

Hot weather to bring tornados and lightning
With this blitz Gerry'll get a taste of his own medicine. Photo: DPA

Hot weather to bring tornados and lightning

After Germans were able to sneak out to restock their wurst and sauerkraut rations during few cool hours on Monday, another heat wave is sweeping across the country on Tuesday, sending people running back to the shade for cover. READ  

July heatwave
Hot dogs lap up liver sausage sundaes
Ice-cream maker Leonardo Caprarese with golden retriever Oscar, enjoying a delicious scoop of Leberwurst ice cream. Photo: DPA

Hot dogs lap up liver sausage sundaes

Hounds languishing in the July heat around Bremen have been treated to a very special snack to cool them down - but it's one that might put humans off their lunch. READ  

Berlin growing twice as fast as expected
Population growth is putting strains on city planning. Photo: DPA

Berlin growing twice as fast as expected

The Berlin senate revealed on Monday that the capital is growing at double the pace that city planners had previously expected. But after decades of stagnation the growth is seen as positive. READ  

Anti-refugee rage grows in Dresden suburbs
Demonstrators outside the Freital refugee home are held back by police on June 26th. Photo: DPA

Anti-refugee rage grows in Dresden suburbs

Freital, the town that became famous last week for irate anti-refugee protestors outside a new home for asylum seekers, saw a fresh confrontation on Monday night as local people gathered for a town hall meeting. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,912
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd