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Russian hackers launch revenge attack on Germany – alert issued as banks targeted

Vladimir Putin discusses US-based cyber attacks towards Russia

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According to German daily BILD, the cyber attack was launched in the past few days. The German newspaper claims that Western intelligence sources confirmed the state-run Russian hackers from the “Fancy Bear” group was behind the attack.

The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) confirmed the attack to BILD on Wednesday morning.

Several sources told BILD the reason could be revenge for the sanctions policy against Russia and attempts by the Russians to prevent harsh sanctions against Belarus and its dictator Alexander Lukashenko. It was planned to decouple the country from the international payment system Swift.

Again and again, Russia attacks large areas of German infrastructure with its hackers who report to the GRU military intelligence service.

The Bundestag was hacked several times and political data was spied on. Data from the vaccine manufacturer Biontech was stolen from the European drug approval authority (EMA).

The attack comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that EU talks with Russia would be useful on a number of issues, not least to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin directly that cyber attacks are no basis for a productive relationship.

She said: “Here, I think it is better not only to talk among ourselves but also to confront the Russian president with these things and to say ‘on such a basis a fruitful cooperation cannot take place’.”

European Union leaders last week rejected a Franco-German proposal to hold a summit with Russia after Poland and Baltic countries said it would send the wrong message as East-West ties deteriorate.

Ms Merkel added: “The relationship between Russia and the European Union is really not good at the moment, but even during the Cold War, people talked to each other, so I think silence is not conducive to solving the problems.”

But she added that the EU leaders had identified issues they agreed they wanted to address with Russia and had tasked officials with looking at formats and conditions under which talks with Moscow could go ahead.

She said: “That means we took one step forward but we’re not at our goal yet.”

Beyond EU concerns about Russian influence in Belarus and Ukraine, Ms Merkel listed disarmament, and the future of Syria and Libya as issues where the bloc could “sound out with the Russian president whether one can come to joint results.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

More to follow…

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