Representatives from several German political parties have been targeted by hackers allegedly backed by the Russian government, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Tuesday.
Members of left-leaning Die Linke party were targeted along with the youth wing of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the report claimed. CDU's representatives in the federal state of Saarland, where a new regional parliament will be elected next March, also allegedly came under cyber-attack.
The attack came in the form of a "phishing email," which appeared to have been sent from an official in the NATO headquarters, the newspaper claimed. Germany's Federal Office for Information Security reportedly deemed the attack so severe that fraction leaders in Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, were warned about the threat in early September.
The latest hack follows an earlier attack in 2015, which cybersecurity experts attributed to the Sofacy hacker group. German government experts believe that both attacks were carried out on the Kremlin's orders, the newspaper reported.
Germany is to hold federal elections next year to elect a new chancellor. Angela Merkel, who currently holds the post, has not yet announced her intention to run as a candidate.