Last week, Ukraine experienced massive Russian cyberattacks on countless computers. The invading country could place its spotlight on Germany next.
Cybersecurity companies have observed cyberattacks in Ukraine. They said that these cyber attackers deployed a new data-destructing virus. However, its effects are not yet identified.
Germany isn’t exempted from Russian cyberattacks that could threaten its significant infrastructure and businesses. According to the national intelligence agency, its political and military institutions are also at risk.
“As a reaction to the most recent sanctions and promises of military assistance on the part of Germany, there is a growing risk of Russian cyberattacks against German targets, including
businesses,” the note mentioned to business representatives.
Russian Cyberattacks in Germany
The agency mentioned an increase in cyberattacks from various groups in cyberspace. The activities continue to build up since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
According to the national agency, Ghostwriter had “recurrent recent attacks” against German targets. It’s a hacker group that Russians allegedly owned that could threaten Germany. These cyber attackers have the essential abilities and tools to disrupt these areas considerably and permanently.
Additionally, Russia is integrating fake news and misleading information in its military activities. They spread pro-Russian and anti-Western statements and false news.
The letter also suggests that the Russian cyberattacks could be part of this scheme by establishing the so-called “hack and publish operations.” Cybercriminals hack online news portals or media and journalists’ social media accounts to disseminate false information.
Viasat Experienced Russian Cyberattacks
Several internet users in Europe experienced difficulty using their computers, laptops, and mobiles. Almost 9,000 subscribers have no internet connection from its subsidiary Nordnet in France. The loss of service occurred the same day when Russia started invading Ukraine.
Viasat claimed that a “cyber event” caused a “partial network failure” for Ukraine subscribers and elsewhere in Europe relying on its KA-SAT satellite.
“For several days, shortly after the start of operations, we have had a satellite network that covers Europe and Ukraine in particular, which was the victim of a cyberattack, with tens of thousands of terminals that were rendered inoperative immediately after the attack,” said General Michel Friedling, head of France’s Space Command.
On Friday, parent company Eutelsat confirmed that nearly a third of 40,000 European subscribers encountered Viasat outage. Countries affected by the interruption includes Hungary, Germany, Poland, and France.
Moreover, the disconnection affected some 5,800 wind turbines in Germany and Central Europe, with 11 gigawatts combined output. According to Germany’s Enercon, they had difficulty remotely monitoring and controlling several wind power converters.
Besides, it’s only possible to a limited level because of the vast European disruption in satellite connection. The manufacturer added that there’s no problem with the wind turbines and continue to provide energy. However, they cannot reset it remotely anymore if necessary.
Both cyber specialists and the military are anxious that the Russian-Ukraine conflict could result in cyberattack outbreaks. They call it “Cyber Armageddon” with significant consequences not only for Russian and Ukrainian civilians but for the whole world.
Viasat isn’t the only satellite internet provider that operates in Ukraine at the moment that’s encountering connection issues. Elon Musk already activated and distributed his Starlink service and encountered many attempts of disruption.
German Companies’ Economic Repercussions
In 2014, Russia’s invaded Crimea. The penalties that stemmed dropped the number of German investments in Russia by one-third. The number remains less than 4,000 by 2020, thinking their presence would help connect Russia to the democratic state.
Some firms decided to exit and began unravelling business ties. Others try to stay because of loyalty to their workers and employees in spite of Western sanctions. Businesses are now shrouded with chagrin and distress.
Germany’s leading automakers, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Daimler Truck, and Volkswagen, stopped their exports and production in Russia. The ZF Group and Haniel did the same thing.
“While our options are limited, we still can have an impact. I understand it is tough from a customer and supplier relationship perspective, but it is more important that we get people on the street protesting,” said Thomas Schmidt, Haniel chief executive, in a video statement.
German firms do more business in Russia than other European countries. It exported over €26 billion worth of goods last year and invested €25 billion more in operations. This agreement to the Russian economy depicts principles that the former West Germany that came out from WWII. The trade could establish peace and hold off Europe from storming into a new war.
The German Eastern Business Association vented out this notion as well. It’s a group of companies that have served as the protagonist for decades. Additionally, it promotes deeper economic ties with Moscow regardless of President Vladimir V. Putin’s anti-democratic moves.
Supposedly, the group will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year. Many of its members had a scheduled meeting with Putin last week. However, they cancelled the meeting because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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