German-based renewable energy firms hit in a series of hacks

German-based renewable energy companies have been hit with cyberattacks since Russia began its war in Ukraine, according to a Wall Street Journal report

The attacks on the three wind-energy firms  – Deutsche Windtechnik AG, Nordex SE, Enercon GmbH – disrupted some of their operations and forced one company to shut down its information technology systems.

Deutsche Windtechnik AG, which was hacked in April, said that systems controlling about 2,000 wind turbines in Germany were down for a day following the attack. 

Nordex SE, a turbine maker, was forced to switch off its information technology systems after detecting a breach in late March. Ransomware group Conti claims to be behind the attack. 

The attack on the three companies comes as many western European countries plan to reduce their reliance on Russian fuel as they transition to more eco-friendly energy sources.

Last week, the European Union announced a series of actions its citizens can take to reduce energy consumption in an effort to support Ukraine. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Commission recommended that people walk or bike, work from home, and use less air conditioning when possible

“Using less energy is not only an immediate way for EU citizens to reduce their bills, but it also supports Ukraine by reducing the need for Russian oil and gas, thereby helping to reduce the revenue streams funding the invasion,” the commission said.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU have imposed crippling economic sanctions against Russia, causing the value of the ruble to plunge. The sanctions also included blocking Russia’s access to the U.S. dollar and cutting the country off from roughly $600 billion in reserves held by the Central Bank of Russia. 

The West has also been on high alert as Russian-backed hackers have increasingly been targeting critical infrastructure amid the war in Ukraine. 

Last week, U.S. federal agencies, along with foreign partners, issued a joint advisory about how Russia could potentially target critical infrastructure that could affect “organizations both within and beyond Ukraine.”

In a statement, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said that the advisory is “the most comprehensive view of the cyber threat posed by Russia to critical infrastructure released by government cyber experts since the invasion of Ukraine in February.”

The Hill reached out to the German-based firms for comments.

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