Pro-Russian cyberattacks bring down German government websites

The digital war over Ukraine isn't about to cool down any time soon. A group of pro-Russian hackers calling itself CyberBerkut is taking credit for cyberattacks that brought down German government websites, including those for Chancellor Angela Merkel, the foreign ministry and the lower parliament. Officials aren't pointing any fingers, but CyberBerkut is claiming that the breach is in retaliation for German support of the "criminal regime in Kiev." The attack came soon before German and Ukrainian leaders were going to meet, so the timing of the incident at least lines up with the group's motivations.

All of the affected sites are back up as of this writing. However, the internet assault is a definite black eye for Germany -- its official websites cope with 3,000 cyberattacks a day, and this is the first sustained attack to make more than a brief dent in the country's armor. The nation (and others, for that matter) may have to beef up its defenses if it wants to prevent future takedowns. Next time, the consequences could be more severe.

[Image credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images]