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Germany investigating unprecedented spread of fake news online

10.01.2017, 11:09

German government officials have said they are investigating an unprecedented proliferation of fake news items amid reports of Russian efforts to influence the country’s election later this year, the Guardian reports

The BfV domestic intelligence agency confirmed that a cyber-attack last December against the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) used the same “attack infrastructure” as a 2015 hack of the German parliament attributed to Russian hacking group APT28.

Last month, BfV said it had seen an “enormous use of financial resources” and the deployment of a wide variety of Russian propaganda tools to carry out disinformation campaigns aimed at destabilising the German government.

Russia denies involvement in cyberwarfare targeting western governments and institutions.

Steffen Seibert, a government spokesman, said Germany would use all possible means to investigate the spread of fake news online, saying the best response was greater transparency.

“We are dealing with a phenomenon of a dimension that we have not seen before,” he said.

German officials said Berlin had looked into creating a separate branch of the government press office that would specifically evaluate and respond to fake news items.

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