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German Intelligence Warns of Iranian Cyber Spying

German Intelligence Warns of Iranian Cyber Spying

Friday, 10 July, 2020 - 08:45
German police carry out raids against suspected Iranian spies, January 2018. (Reuters)
Berlin - Raghida Bahnam

The annual report of the German Federal Intelligence Service warned against Iran’s increasing use of IT infrastructures to access sensitive information with the aim to circumvent sanctions.

There are increased cyber activities by Iran in Germany, the 388-page report said, detailing the internal threats faced in the country. The report pointed to Iran’s increasing ability in recent years to launch cyber-attacks, which it said were linked to tensions in the Gulf region.

The aim of these attacks is to “circumvent the sanctions imposed on Iran and to provide decision-makers with basic information about the planned political maneuvers,” it underlined.

The intelligence report also spoke of widespread activity by Iranian intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force within German soil, adding that espionage operations were conducted against Jewish, pro-Jewish and Israeli targets.

“Even if there is no explicit danger against precise persons or targets, it can be assumed that these spies are present to carry out operations and attacks against specific targets,” it emphasized.

It also pointed to the Islamic Center in Hamburg, which is considered “the most important representation of Iran in Germany”, in addition to the Iranian embassy. The report said that the center has established a national network of contacts within many Shiite mosques and societies and exerts a significant influence on them.

On Turkish intelligence activity in Germany, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution warned of the Turkish intelligence services’ ability to easily recruit agents in Germany “because of the large number of the Turkish community,” which accounts for about 4 million people.

The report said that there were 9,000 Turkish spies were working for Ankara intelligence pursue Kurdish opponents and supporters of cleric Fethullah Gulen around the world.

On the Lebanese Hezbollah’s threats, the report said: “We must expect the party to continue planning terrorist acts.”

It added that there were 1,050 members belonging to Hezbollah in Germany - the same number that the report mentioned in the previous year.

On the other hand, the federal intelligence monitored an increase in the number of the Muslim Brotherhood by about 300 members. Those accounted for 1,350 members inside Germany in 2019, compared to 1,040 in 2018.

The German Islamic Group, with its headquarters in Cologne, is classified as the most important organization for Brotherhood supporters in Germany.

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