Germany warns of increased danger of cybersecurity attacks from Russia

Posted on February 26, 2023 at 2:38 PM

Germany warns of increased danger of cybersecurity attacks from Russia

Russian hactivist groups have become increasingly active, as they have been launching hacking attacks targeted towards countries that have undermined Russia in the Russia-Ukraine war. The German interior minister has now warned about the danger facing Germany because of these hacking attacks.

German minister warns of danger posed by Russian hackers

Germany’s interior minister, Nancy Faeser, is calling for vigilance because of the increased danger posed by hacking groups affiliated with Russia. According to Faeser, Russian President Vladimir Putin invested resources into cyberattacks as part of his ongoing war.

While speaking in an interview with the Funke Mediengruppe news network, Fraeser noted that cybersecurity concerns have increased since the start of the war, adding that these attacks were linked to pro-Russian hackers.

According to Faeser, state-sponsored hackers currently pose a danger, with spying and sabotage activities also being linked to these hacking groups. The official has also called upon the regional and federal governments to partner in fighting these cyberattacks and continue working towards their ability to fend off these attacks.

The government has also said it will expand its Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). She noted that the efforts being made in this sector were linked to the creation of new instruments that could be used by security authorities to halt and resolve cyberattacks.

Germany has been supporting Ukraine in the ongoing conflict. The country started delivering weapons to Ukraine and introduced sanctions against Russia. According to security experts, there have been warnings about the immense danger posed by cybersecurity attacks from Russian hactivist groups targeting energy providers and military organizations.

These cyberattacks threaten Germany’s domestic security as the hackers can target critical infrastructure and political operations. In May 2015, the German parliament faced one of the largest cyberattacks that the country has ever faced after an internal computer system was breached. This attack was linked to the Russian military intelligence agency.

In 2020, the office of the then German Chancellor Angela Merkel also suffered a breach. The Chancellor later told parliament that the attackers had received emails from her constituency office, adding that the breach was “outrageous” and “painful.”

Following the Russia-Ukraine war, the number of cyberattacks targeting Germany has spiked. These attacks are linked to the Russian hacker group Ghostwriter, allegedly controlled by Russian intelligence services.

In recent weeks, a wave of hacking attacks targeting airports to town hall administration has affected normal operations. The Russian hacking group KillNet, linked to several distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) campaigns in recent weeks, said it planned to disrupt life in Germany.

According to cybersecurity experts, Germany was in a state of “permanent fire” from hackers. The hacking attacks have targeted financial institutions, energy providers, humanitarian bodies, tax authorities, and others. The hackers behind these attacks usually conceal their identities, but investigators have uncovered Russian threat actors behind them.

The Vice President of the foreign intelligence service of Berlin, BND, Wolfgang Wien, also issued a warning at a security conference in Potsdam during the summer of 2022. According to Wien, hackers from China and Russia targeted the German digital sector.

Hacking attacks are becoming politicized

Google also published a recent analysis saying that Moscow was actively recruiting private hacking groups and attacking them on the GRU bandwagon. Additionally, experts have said that these cyberattacks are becoming more politicized. For instance, after Germany announced that it would deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the number of cyberattacks in the country increased.

Experts also say that the cyberattacks that have targeted Germany so far are not sophisticated or demanding. However, these simpler attacks are being used as a warning signal, as more sophisticated attacks usually follow them. The hackers likely use the initial attacks to test the strength of the security measures.

The director of protection labs for the Avira IT security company, Alexander Vuckevic, said that every time Europe announces a wave of new sanctions targeting Russia or accelerates efforts to assist Ukraine, the number of cyberattacks increases significantly.

After the German parliament voted in favor of tank deliveries, cyberattack activities intensified, but the parliament had ample security measures in place to fight off these attacks. Russian hacker also targeted NATO IT systems during the Munich Security Conference where the main discussion was about the Russia-Ukraine crisis. KillNet also targeted Bulgaria after it said it was standing with Ukraine.

Germany warns of increased danger of cybersecurity attacks from Russia
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Germany warns of increased danger of cybersecurity attacks from Russia
The German minister has warned of increased danger of cybersecurity attacks from Russian threat actors. The minister has called for increased vigilance. Hacking attacks are becoming more politicized.
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