On the eve of the early parliamentary elections in Austria, which are scheduled for September 29, hackers attacked the database of the leader of the election race – the Austrian People’s Party, led by Sebastian Kurtz.
“In recent months, targeted, criminal, professional hacker attacks against the People’s Party have been carried out with the ability to copy and fake data. The goal of the hackers was to harm us and our democracy,” the party said on Twitter.
An interim report by CyberTrap experts hired by the ANP to investigate reports that it is not yet possible to say who exactly was behind the attack. Attackers at the moment could not be traced, because they took advantage of anonymizing programs, including Tor.
It is reported that as a result of a cyber attack, up to 1300 gigabytes of data were stolen from the party’s computer system.
“This is not only an attack on the People’s Party, but also an attack on the democratic system,” said party leader Sebastian Kurtz in an emergency televised speech.
The staff of the Cybercrime Competence Center of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is now investigating this situation. Vienna’s prosecutor’s office is also investigating suspected illegal access to a computer system and data corruption. Also, the Austrian government informed the EU as part of efforts to combat the misinformation of third countries in order to influence elections and undermine the integrity of democratic systems.
According to the law, the next parliamentary elections in Austria were to be held in 2022, but the collapse of the ruling coalition as a result of the government crisis in May this year led to early parliamentary elections.
The government crisis occurred as a result of the incident, called the “Ibiza affair”, in which the Vice-Chancellor of Austria and the leader of the Austrian Freedom Party (APS) Heinz-Christian Strahe were involved. As a result, at the request of Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz, Strache resigned as vice-chancellor of the country and leader of the APS. The Social Democrats took advantage of this situation and initiated a vote in parliament to express a vote of no confidence in the government. As a result, the cabinet resigned, and in the history of Austria for the first time a new interim chancellor was appointed for the period until the formation of a new government after the election.
According to all preliminary surveys conducted by the Austrian media, three parties are leading in all Federal states: the Austrian People’s Party (ANP) Sebastian Kurtz, the Austrian Social Democratic Party and the Austrian Freedom Party.
Experts believe that the election can further strengthen the position of the ANP, led by Kurtz, who is able to collect up to 40% of the vote, which will make it possible to form a future government. Most likely, the second place in the number of seats in parliament will go to the Austrian Social Democratic Party and the third to the Austrian Freedom Party.
This alignment suggests that Vienna’s policy will not undergo any major changes and basically the previous foreign policy course will be continued, based on constant neutrality, proclaimed back in 1955.
Dr. Neda BERGER,
Chairman of the Austrian-Turkmen Society,
Honorary Advisor to IA “MEDIA-TURKMEN”