• Germany's news in English

Cheap software led to police hack

The Local · 16 Jul 2011, 11:01

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

Related articles

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

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
Refugee crisis
Germany’s far-right rises amid refugee wave
A Pegida demonstration in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Germany’s far-right rises amid refugee wave

6 minutes ago

Almost declared dead only months ago, Germany’s populist far-right is seeking a comeback amid a record wave of asylum-seekers, hoping to anchor itself in mainstream politics.

Big turn-out for Berlin anti-TTIP demonstration
Demonstrators against the TTIP in Berlin on Saturday. Photo: DPA.

Big turn-out for Berlin anti-TTIP demonstration

1 hour ago

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied on Saturday in the German capital against the massive free-trade accord being negotiated by the European Union and the United States.

'He's back': Hitler movie hits nerve in Germany
Oliver Masucci as Hitler. Photo: DPA

'He's back': Hitler movie hits nerve in Germany

7 hours ago

Imagine Hitler wakes up in today's Berlin, is mistaken for a hilarious impersonator of the Nazi leader and ends up a TV celebrity, widely cheered for voicing his demented worldview.

50,000 expected at Berlin anti-TTIP demo
People demonstrating against TTIP in Berlin on October 7th 2015. Photo: DPA

50,000 expected at Berlin anti-TTIP demo

1 day ago

Organizers of a mass rally in Berlin against US-EU free trade agreement TTIP say that they expect around 50,000 people on Saturday from all over Germany to take part.

Bavaria threatens Merkel with court over refugees
Border controls between Austria and Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Bavaria threatens Merkel with court over refugees

1 day ago

The Bavarian government is threatening to take Chancellor Angela Merkel to the country's highest court to make her change her refugee policy.

This Week in History
What the Germans brought to America
Germany and USA flags adorn New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel in 2011. Photo: DPA

What the Germans brought to America

1 day ago

German-American Day first gained a spot on US calendars over 130 years ago. An annual holiday on October 6th, it marks the day in 1683 when 13 German families arrived in Philadelphia to set up home. But what exactly made their arrival so important?

Berlin school bans Wi-fi hub over porno fears
Photo: DPA

Berlin school bans Wi-fi hub over porno fears

1 day ago

A school in west Berlin has opposed the city putting a public Wi-fi hot spot on their roof – because they are afraid pupils will use it to view pornography on their smartphones.

How well does Homeland get Germany?
Photo: DPA.

How well does Homeland get Germany?

1 day ago

As the first episode of the new season of Homeland, shot in Berlin, aired this week, The Local takes a look at what it got right on point - and where it totally missed the point - about Berlin and Germany. Obviously: spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it.

Klopp meets press as new Liverpool boss
Jürgen Klopp posing with a Liverpool FC shirt at Anfield. Photo: DPA

Klopp meets press as new Liverpool boss

1 day ago

Jürgen Klopp was introduced to the media as Liverpool manager on Friday morning and spoke of his pride at taking over at one of English football's biggest teams.

Police hunt suspect after refugee child snatched
Mohamed Januzi (l) and the suspected abductor (r). Photo: Polizei Berlin

Police hunt suspect after refugee child snatched

1 day ago

A four-year-old refugee child went missing in Berlin over nine days ago. Now police have released a picture of his suspected abductor.

Are the German public too happy to see Hitler?
The secret to more travel for less
Government blocks plans for Berlin 'cannabis cafes'
'Der Klassiker': no classic at all for Dortmund
Dortmund fans' bad behaviour in Thessaloniki
UK Ambassador wants more young Brits in Germany
How Snoop Dogg dissed Munich hip hop scene
More wind power generated so far in 2015 than all of 2014
Rent a nuclear bunker near Berlin for just €3,000 a month
German universities leap up world elite rankings
Business & Money
What to do if you own a cheating Volkswagen
Homeland star's fave Berlin spot is Berghain
Why Dresden Buddhists won't be using the swastika symbol
Mystery of 'murdered' student found alive after 31 years
What wearable technology might look like in the future
Why vegetarian food is more German than a Bratwurst
The very best of traditional German vegetarian food
The first glimpse of Neptune - from an observatory in Berlin
How VW was rebuilt from nothing... by an English army officer
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd