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Russian-affiliates believed to be behind cyber attacks on wind turbines firms

Three German-based renewable energy companies attacked as country attempts to wean itself off Russian oil

Cyber attacks on three Germany-based wind-energy companies have raised alarms that Russian-sympathisers are trying to disrupt European efforts to lessen resilience on Russian oil and gas. 

The firms haven't publicly attributed the attacks to any particular groups, according to The Wall Street Journal, but the timing of each has led to rising suspicions of Russian influence.  

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The three companies targeted in the attacks are Deutsche Windtechnik AG, which provides maintenance services and two manufacturers, Nordex SE and Enercon GmbH. Deutsche Windtechnik was hacked in April with remote control systems for 2,000 wind turbines taken offline for more than a day. Nordex, which discovered a security incident in march, said it was forced to shut its IT systems down. The ransomware group Conti, which has declared its support for the Russian government, said it was responsible for the attack on Nordex. 

Enercon, however, said it was part of the "collateral damage" of an attack on a satellite company that was conducted in February. The attack knocked out remote controls for 5,800 of Enercon's wind turbines almost at the exact time that Russian troops invaded Ukraine. 

"We need high IT security standards because the growing renewable-energy sector will become a bigger target for hackers," Matthias Brandt, director of Deutsche Windtechnik, told the WSJ. "The crisis in Russia and Ukraine shows us that renewables are replacing oil and gas in the future."

The European Union has begun a process to reduce its reliance on Russian imports, which includes guidance for its citizens to work from home and consume less oil by not driving as much. However, Germany, the continent's biggest economic player, has rejected EU-wide sanctions on Russian fuel as it would damage its economy. The country's government has accelerated plans to reach 100% renewable energy by 2035 and wean itself off Russian oil and coal imports by the end of this year. 

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