Sanctions against Russia due to the country's invasion of Ukraine is nothing new. Dell, Ericsson, Logitech, Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, and more have already cut ties with Russia in the past few months. Now, Germany has fired its cybersecurity chief due to his close ties with the Russian government.
As reported by the BBC, Germany has fired the Arne Schönbohm, who was leading the Federal Office for Information Security, also known as Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI). This is due to German media outlets alleging that the executive has close ties with Russian intelligence services. Although an investigation is still underway, Schönbohm has been relieved from his duties with immediate effect.
Investigative journalism from Germany media outlets revealed that Schönbohm has links with a Russian company, Protelion. This firm was allegedly set up by a former KGB member who had also been honored by Russia's president Vladimir Putin. The link between Schönbohm and Protelion is that the latter was also a member of a private association called Cyber Security Council Germany, established by Schönbohm. Germany policymakers and firms often consult this association.
Following the publicizing of this matter, Schönbohm has been fired by the German government, with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser noting that:
Necessary public trust in the neutrality and impartiality of his leadership as president of the most important German cybersecurity agency has been damaged.
It's important to understand that due to the strained relations between Russia and the European Union (EU), there's a massive conflict of interest when a German cybersecurity chief is found potentially sharing intelligence information with Russia. Germany is yet to announce a successor to Schönbohm in the BSI.