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Germany blames Russia for ‘intolerable’ cyber attack

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Germany said Friday it had summoned a top Russian envoy to the foreign ministry after Berlin blamed Russian state-sponsored hackers for a cyberattack last year on members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

“We have summoned the acting charge d’affaires of the Russian embassy,” a foreign ministry spokesman told reporters, adding that the government “will use the entire spectrum of measures to deter and respond to Russia’s aggressive behavior in cyberspace.”

Earlier on Friday, Germany 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 cyberattack on the SPD had just concluded.

“Today we can say unambiguously (that) we can attribute this cyberattack 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 cyberattack 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 cyberattack 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 cyberattack 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 behavior 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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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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