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Germany blames Russia for ‘intolerable’ cyber attack

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Germany on Friday blamed Russian state-sponsored hackers for an “intolerable” cyber attack on members of the Social Democratic Party and warned there would be consequences.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said a German federal government investigation into who was behind the 2023 cyber attack on the SPD had just concluded.

“Today we can say unambiguously (that) we can attribute this cyber attack to a group called APT28, which is steered by the military intelligence service of Russia,” she told a news conference during a visit to Australia.

“In other words, it was a state-sponsored Russian cyber attack on Germany and this is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable and will have consequences.”

APT28, also known as Fancy Bear, has been accused of dozens of cyber attacks in countries around the world.

Baerbock did not give further details of the cyber attack against the SPD.

The European Union’s computer security response unit CERT-EU last year noted a German media report that an SPD executive had been targeted in a cyber attack in January 2023, “resulting in possible data exposure”.

It said there were reportedly “concrete signs” it was of Russian origin.

The German minister spoke after a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong in Adelaide, South Australia.

Wong said Australia was “deeply troubled” by the cyber activity raised by Baerbock.

“Australia stands in solidarity with Germany in calling out states that act contrary to the norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace,” Wong said.

“We have previously joined the United States, UK, Canada, and New Zealand in attributing malicious cyber activity to APT28.”

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