Cop's attempt at parental control led to hacked German police system

By Lee Kaelin on January 11, 2012, 12:30 PM

Last July, a computer server used by German authorities for GPS surveillance was compromised by hackers and subsequently shut down. Although details were limited at the time, it is now being reported that the events leading to the break-in could have well been triggered by an officer’s attempt to monitor his daughter’s Internet activities.

It is believed the father, who is a senior officer with the German Federal Police based in Frankfurt, installed a form of spyware, possibly a Trojan on his daughter's computer in order to ascertain her online activities, according to reports from German weekly magazine, Der Spiegel.

A friend of the girl with ties to the hacker scene in Germany is said to have stumbled upon it when using her computer. In response to the discovery, her friend then hacked or gained access into the police officer’s computer.

While that shouldn’t have been an issue itself, the father was apparently diverting confidential work emails to his personal computer, storing them all locally. The hackers were able to gain access to those emails, which contained information key to obtaining unauthorized access to the PATRAS GPS surveillance system used by the police and customs authorities.

The breach came to light in July last year when the hacker group n0-n4m3 Cr3w (No Name Crew) announced they had access to the compromised server, which resulted in the German authorities shutting down the entire service to investigate the matter.

The hacker group then published documents and other information including usernames, passwords, phone numbers, and license plates of vehicles as well as geographic locations of ongoing criminal investigations.

The Federal investigation into the incident resulted in the German Federal Police arresting two individuals suspected of being involved in the breach. One of them is believed to be the leader of the hacker group.

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