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Saturday, April 13, 2024

German Defense Ministry uses ‘1234’ as password

The puzzling security choice comes after a major leak revealed a top-level discussion on attacking Russia’s Crimean Bridge

The German Defense Ministry has protected a press statement on leaked military communications behind the password ‘1234’. German media has mocked the ministry for the “extremely embarrassing” security detail.

The statement, made by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Sunday, was posted in audio format on the ministry’s website on Monday. Under a link to a cloud storage service hosting the file, the ministry informed visitors that they could access the recording by entering the password ‘1234’.

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While the file is not classified and the password was likely chosen as a placeholder, its use was roundly mocked by German tabloid Bild. “After the wiretapping attack on the Bundeswehr [German military] by Russian spies, this is extremely embarrassing,” the paper wrote on Monday.

On Friday, RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan published a transcript and audio recording of a conversation between four officers of the German Air Force, including its top general, Ingo Gerhartz, saying that she had obtained the file from Russian security officials.

Over a WebEx video call, the officers discussed the potential use of German-made Taurus missiles against the Crimean Bridge, wondering how they could maintain plausible deniability of involvement in such an attack. The conversation also revealed that – according to the officers – Britain has already sent its own military specialists to Ukraine to operate Storm Shadow cruise missiles given to the Ukrainian armed forces.

It is unclear how Simonyan’s contacts obtained the audio. However, the deputy chairman of the German parliament’s oversight committee, Roderich Kiesewetter, said on Sunday that the Russians could have simply logged on to the unsecured WebEx call without the officers noticing.

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Berlin confirmed the recording’s authenticity on Saturday. In his statement on Sunday, Pistorius did not address the apparent security lapses that led to the leak. Instead, he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating the incident as part of an “information war” against the West.