German cybersecurity chief sacked after comedian ‘reveals alleged Russia ties’

German cybersecurity chief sacked after comedian 'highlighted alleged Russia ties'. Credit: @ArneSchönbohm/Twitter.

A GERMAN cybersecurity chief has been sacked after his alleged ties with Russia were ‘revealed by a comedian’.

News site Der Spiegel reported that Arne Schönbohm, the president of the German Federal Office for Information Security, was let go from his position with “immediate effect” on Tuesday, citing “security sources”.

Arne Schönbohm, who has been in charge of the agencies overseeing the government’s computer and communication security since 2016, came under fire after his links to a Russian company in a previous job were highlighted by comedian Jan Böhmermann, reports The Guardian.

It was discovered that Schönbohm previously helped to found the Cyber Security Council Germany, a lobbying group that is registered as a voluntary association.

Since 2020, the company listed a Berlin-based cybersecurity firm, Protelion, which has links to Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

The company, previously known as Infotecs, is a subsidiary of a Russian company founded by an ex-KGB employee who has received a medal of honour for his services from Putin.

Böhmermann said in his programme: “The Russian company Infotecs that wants to protect our critical infrastructure from Russian cyber-attacks works with Russian intelligence services,

“Russian agents use Infotecs, which under the name Protelion GmbH sells German companies security software.”

There is no suggestion that Schönbohm continued his relationship with Protelion after becoming the government’s security chief, but the link has raised vulnerability concerns over Germany’s critical infrastructure.

Cyber Security Council Germany has since dismissed Protelion from its list of members but slammed “absurd” allegations of Russian influence.

Despite this, a number of companies have cancelled their membership of the group, including TeamViewer and E.ON.


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Vickie S
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Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.

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