EU, NATO Condemn Cyberattacks Against Germany, Czechia, Blame Russia As Perpetrator


By Alexandra Brzozowski

(EurActiv) — The EU and NATO on Friday (3 May) condemned “malicious cyber activities” against Germany and Czechia, which they say were likely carried out by a Russian cyber espionage group.

“Russia has long been trying to subvert democracy and the security of Czechia in various ways – we have many examples: the explosion in Vrbětice, the Voice of Europe influence operation, and cyber attacks,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told reporters, including Euractiv.

“Czech diplomacy will always defend Czechia against Russian imperialism. Pointing the finger publicly at a specific attacker in this way is an important tool for protecting national interests,” Lipavsky added.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday said a German federal government investigation into who was behind the 2023 cyberattack on the German Social Democrat party (SPD) had just been 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,” Baerbock was quoted as saying by Reuters.

APT28, a Russian cyber espionage group also known by the name of Fancy Bear, is said to be responsible for dozens of cyberattacks globally in recent years, including on government institutions, media organisations and critical infrastructure operators.

EU and NATO member states, including Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Sweden were among those targeted in the past.

“In other words, it was a state-sponsored Russian cyberattack on Germany and this is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable and will have consequences,” Baerbock said, without giving further details of the cyberattack against the SPD.

In a statement on behalf of the EU, chief diplomat Josep Borrell said “the malicious cyber campaign shows Russia’s continuous pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace, by targeting democratic institutions, government entities and critical infrastructure providers across the European Union and beyond.”

“The EU will not tolerate such malicious behaviour, particularly activities that aim to degrade our critical infrastructure, weaken societal cohesion and influence democratic processes,” Borrell said, in reference to the EU elections in June.

Reacting to the incidents, NATO on Friday called on Russia to respect “international obligations” and said it would “employ the necessary capabilities in order to deter, defend against and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats.”

“We remain committed to countering the substantial, continuous and increasing cyber threat, including to our democratic systems and our critical infrastructure,” the Western military alliance said in a statement.

*Aurélie Pugnet contributed to the report.


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