Germany warns of consequences for alleged Russian cyber attack

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock delivers a statement at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod

By Alasdair Pal

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Russia will face consequences for a cyber attack allegedly orchestrated by a group with ties to its military intelligence, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Friday.

Germany has been among the Western nations providing Ukraine military support in its war with Russia, with President Vladimir Putin saying in December that ties between the two countries stay largely frozen.

From December 2022 onwards, Germany's ruling Social Democrats and companies in the logistics, defence, aerospace and IT sectors were targeted by Russian hackers, according to the interior ministry.

"We can now clearly attribute the attack to the Russian group APT28, which is controlled by the Russian military intelligence service GRU," Baerbock told a press conference in Adelaide.

"In other words, Russian state hackers have attacked Germany in cyberspace," added Baerbock, who is visiting Australia to meet counterpart Penny Wong. "This is completely unacceptable and will not remain without consequences."

In March, Germany's cybersecurity agency and researchers working for Google owner Alphabet said a similar group, called APT29, had been caught targeting several German political parties, aiming to burrow into their networks and steal data.

(This story has been corrected to remove reference to websites being knocked offline and to add details of hacking campaign in paragraph 3)

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal in Sydney; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)