Germany Blames Russia For Foreign Ministry Cyber Attack

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Russia has to change its behaviour after unacceptable actions, including cyber attack on German foreign ministry

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has hit out at Russia at the weekend, and called on Moscow to change its recent behaviours that has led to rising tensions with the West.

This actions said Maas included the use of military grade nerve agent in Salisbury, support for the Syrian government, interfering in Western elections, and its failure to implement a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

And Maas said that German has had to assume that the recent cyber attack on the German Foreign Ministry came from Russia.

Germany email © Matthias Pahl Shutterstock

Russian attack

“We had an attack on the Foreign Ministry where we have to assume that it stemmed from Russia,” Maas was quoted by Reuters as telling the German broadcaster ZDF. “We can’t just wish all that away … And I think it’s not only reasonable but necessary to point out that we do not view those as constructive contributions.”

The foreign ministry cyber attack apparently took place in February, and German government officials called it at the time an “isolated” cyber attack on the government computer network that was first discovered in December.

Last week Reuters quoted the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency as saying there was “a high likelihood” that Moscow was behind the attack.

Germany has until recently been notoriously reticence in openly criticising Russia, due to its dependence on Russian gas.

Maas however has adopted a tougher stance on Russia than his predecessors from the Social Democrats.

On Sunday he told the other German public broadcaster, ARD, that Moscow had been an increasingly “difficult partner” but Berlin was committed to maintaining dialogue, particularly on the crisis in Syria.

“It is time, I think, to point out that we expect constructive contributions from the Russian side, including on the Syrian conflict. And also that they don’t always simply protect (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad,” he said.

Russia has denied any efforts to influence Western elections and said it was not behind the cyber attack in Germany.

It also denied carrying out the nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the UK.

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