• 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
Cologne evacuates 20,000 after bomb find
The bomb is burrowed deep in the ground. Photo: DPA

Cologne evacuates 20,000 after bomb find

Authorities In Cologne have begun the biggest evacuation since Second World War of around 20,000 people after a 1,000 kg bomb was found in the north-east of the city. READ  

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty
Photo: DPA

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government tricked the public into believing the USA was prepared to sign a so-called 'no-spy agreement' with Germany ahead of elections in 2013, a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed on Wednesday. READ  

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman
Photo: DPA

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman

Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the Forbes list of the world's most powerful women for the fifth straight year but Hillary Clinton is snapping at her heels, the magazine said on Tuesday. READ  

German public shop with renewed confidence
People throng the halls of the Milaneo shopping centre in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA

German public shop with renewed confidence

Consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest in 13.5 years, as the positive economic outlook and low inflation persuade consumers to open their purses, a poll found on Wednesday. READ  

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch
Locals enjoy the normally tranquil Seeburger See

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch

A couple of friends who went for a quiet spot of fishing on Lake Seeburg in Lower Saxony on Monday got the fright of their life when they pulled up their net to find an artillery shell inside. READ  

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday
Leipzig's impressive skyline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday

This weekend the city of Leipzig is celebrating its 1,000th anniversary, since it was first mentioned by the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015. The Local gives some insight into one of Germany's most vibrant cities. READ  

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7
File photo: DPA

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7

German authorities have reintroduced border controls two weeks before the leaders of the G7 economies gather in Elmau, southern Bavaria. READ  

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions
Photo: DPA file photo

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions

Schleswig Holstein's exports to Russia have dropped by 31 percent, state finance minister Reinhard Meyer said in comments reported by the Hamburger Abendblatt on Tuesday. READ  

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq
The twin brothers are both reported to have died in suicide attacks. Photo: Dabiq magazine

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq

German twins from Castrop-Rauxel in North Rhine-Westphalia have died fighting for the Islamist group Isis in Iraq, the militia's official magazine reported in its latest publication. READ  

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink
Photo: DPA

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink

Thieves have stolen toilet seats, taps and loo paper holders from the new interior ministry building in Berlin, making it difficult for mandarins to get comfortable in their new surroundings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
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

6,641
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd