Germany arrests Russian PhD student on suspicion of spying for Moscow

University of Augsburg

A RUSSIAN DOCTORAL STUDENT in mechanical engineering, who is studying in a Bavarian university, has been arrested by German police on suspicion of spying for Moscow, according to official statements and reports in the German media. According to a press statement issued by the Federal Public Prosecutor General’s office in the city of Karlsruhe, the PhD student was arrested on Friday, June 18.

The student was subsequently identified by the German authorities only as “Ilnur N.”, in accordance with German privacy laws. On Monday, however, local media identified the suspected spy as Ilnur Nagaev, a doctoral candidate at the University of Augsburg, which is located 50 miles northwest of Munich. Nagaev reportedly works as a research assistant there, while pursuing his doctoral studies in mechanical engineering.

German authorities maintain that the suspect began working “for a Russian secret service” in early October of 2020, and possibly earlier. He is also accused of having met with an unidentified “member of a Russian foreign secret service” at least three times between October 2020 and June of this year. According to German federal prosecutors, Nagaev shared unspecified information with his alleged Russian handler, and received cash in return at the end of each meeting.

German police reportedly searched Nagaev’s home and work office looking for further clues about the case. In the meantime, a judge at the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice) in the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, which is Germany’s highest court on matters of ordinary jurisdiction, ordered that Nagaev be kept in pre-trial detention, pending a possible indictment. Neither the Russian nor the German federal governments have commented on this case.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 22 June 2021 | Permalink

German government admits using Trojan to spy on private computers

CCC logo

CCC logo

The local government of at least one German federal state has admitted using specially designed computer software to spy on citizens, after a hacker group revealed the existence of the software. On Saturday, the German Chaos Computer Club (CCC), one of the world’s most reputable ‘white hat’ hacker groups, said that German authorities regularly employ the so-called ‘Bundestrojaner’ (‘Federal Trojan’) virus in order to spy on the users of targeted computers. Club member Frank Rieger told German newsmedia that the virus, which was revealed to the Club via an anonymous tipster, was developed by German police experts, and is used by government agents it to intercept electronic information during investigations. The Trojan is reportedly capable of surreptitiously taking screenshots of infected computers, keylogging, recording Skype conversations, and taking control of networked webcams or microphones, thus permitting physical eavesdropping of a person’s home or workplace. In doing so, the Trojan would appear to facilitate warrantless communications interception that exceeds legal limits set under German law. Moreover, according to CCC, the virus acts as a backdoor to infected systems, thus allowing the uploading and execution of unauthorized programs, and potentially may even facilitate the planting of incriminating evidence on targeted computers. Initially, German government officials denied the CCC’s allegations; on Monday, however, officials in the southern German state of Bavaria confirmed that local police forces have been using the Bundestrojaner virus since at least 2009. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: