Germany Fires Cybersecurity Chief ‘Over Russia Ties’

Germany’s cybersecurity chief has been fired after allegations of being excessively close to Russia through an association he helped set up. The BBC reports: Arne Schonbohm had led the Federal Cyber Security Authority (BSI) — charged with protecting government communications — since 2016. German media have accused him of having had links with people involved with Russian intelligence services. The interior ministry is investigating allegations made against him. But it confirmed he had been fired with immediate effect.

Mr Schonbohm had come under scrutiny after his potential links to a Russian company through a previous role were highlighted by Jan Bohmermann, the host of one of Germany’s most popular late-night TV shows. Before leading the BSI, Mr Schonbohm had helped set up and run the Cyber Security Council Germany, a private association which advises business and policymakers on cybersecurity issues. He is said to have maintained close ties to the association and attended their 10th anniversary celebrations in September. One of the association’s members was a cybersecurity company called Protelion, which was a subsidiary of a Russian firm reportedly established by a former member of the KGB honored by President Vladimir Putin. Protelion was ejected from the association last weekend, and Cyber Security Council Germany says the allegations of links to Russian intelligence are untrue.