Rainer Knirsch


Deutsche Telekom offers parties protection for the German Bundestag elections

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Incidents in the United States and France have brought to light a new cyber threat: hacker attacks on elections. In the run-up to the Bundestag elections, Deutsche Telekom has now offered political parties in Germany app-based support to protect smartphones and tablets. The CDU is already using the application.

These days, hardly any politicians can manage without a smartphone and tablet. They need to be able to share data as quickly as possible, and constantly be on social media channels. But the mobile devices needed for this can on occasion be an easy gateway for attacks. Once a hacker gains access to just one device in a campaign, a plethora of options opens up to them. They can easily control the microphone and camera to eavesdrop on political information. The device could also potentially be used as a springboard for disseminating fake news. With different technologies, the attacker could penetrate deep into the election campaign network and steal data. Furthermore, they can commit identity theft and, for example, send e-mails in the name of the affected person, use their social media profiles, access the contact details of the affected person or even turn their device into part of a zombie network and commit crimes in their name.

CDU uses Deutsche Telekom protection app against hackers

Deutsche Telekom has therefore now offered political parties in Germany app-based support for the security of their devices. The CDU has reacted quickly and already begun the roll-out. The app being used is Mobile Protect Pro – a kind of constant ECG for smartphones, etc., which provides protection against all kinds of attacks. Until the elections are over, the parties can install and use the app free of charge. Dirk Backofen, Head of Telekom Security, said: "With our offer, we want to provide the parties with a managed solution to make it impossible for hackers to manipulate mobile devices. We are thus taking social responsibility, because our democracy is based on confidence in the safety and security of our elections."

Deutsche Telekom developed Mobile Protect Pro together with its partner Zimperium and added it to its Magenta Security portfolio last year. All of Deutsche Telekom's company devices are currently protected by this solution.  It runs on smartphones and tablets that use Android from Version 4.0.x or iOS from Version 7. Once installed, the app continuously checks the mobile device for known and unknown threats and anomalies. If any arise, an alarm is triggered on the device and in the connected network and pre-configured countermeasures are initiated on the device and via the connected mobile device management program, including for access to the company network. The compromised device is immediately excluded from the company network.

The app can also be combined with current mobile device management solutions like Airwatch, Mobile Iron, Blackberry Enterprise Server, and Microsoft Intune. Deutsche Telekom operates the control center and data storage exclusively in the state-of-the-art high-security data center in Biere near Magdeburg. Thus all customer data are stored only in Germany under the strict regulations of German data protection law.

The recognition technology is based among other things on self-learning algorithms and artificial intelligence that can also identify unknown risks by detecting anomalies. Personal data or user behaviors are never analyzed in this process. The combination of mobile device management and device-based attack detection makes it possible to always identify a hacked or untrustworthy device in good time and to take the appropriate action.  In this way, the risk and trustworthiness of mobile devices is made transparent.

Telekom Security offers Mobile Protect Pro as a managed solution for all of its business customers.  For this purpose, specialist security experts are available in the 24/7 SOC center. This service is now also of interest to small and medium-sized enterprises in particular.

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