Germany’s domestic intelligence service uncovered a cyberattack targeting the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last year, the head of the German service, Hans-Georg Maassen, told dpa in an exclusive interview.
The president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution said there had been indications that the attack originated in Russia.
"Our analysis came to the conclusion that the attack infrastructure is the same as that we know from other cyberattacks in connection with the APT28 attack campaign – the same campaign that hit the German Bundestag the previous year," Maassen told dpa.
He noted that there were indications that APT28 – also known as Fancy Bear – originated in Russia.
One of the OSCE’s main current tasks is its monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian government forces are battling pro-Russian separatists.
"In early November the OSCE became aware of a major information security incident, compromising the confidentiality of the OSCE computer network," the organization's press office told dpa in a written statement.
"It has not been possible to determine with certainty the identity of the attackers and we do not want to speculate," it added.
Last year, Germany held the chairmanship of the OSCE, which not only aims to prevent conflicts, but also promotes democracy and civic rights across its 57 member countries.
APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat, and APT28 is widely reported to be linked to Russian state bodies, including the GRU military intelligence agency, although the Kremlin has rejected the allegations.
Outgoing US President Barack Obama has accused Moscow of responsibility for hacking the computers of his Democratic Party with a view to manipulating that country's presidential elections in November.
The US intelligence services on Friday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “ordering” the manipulation that targeted the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.