Austrian foreign ministry hit by 'serious' cyber attack

According to Austria's foreign ministry, the attack could last several days.
According to Austria's foreign ministry, the attack could last several days.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

VIENNA (AFP) - Austria's foreign ministry has been targeted by a "serious cyber attack", officials said, warning another country could be responsible.

The attack, which began on Saturday (Jan 4), was continuing on Sunday, and "experts say it could last several days", a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

The interior and foreign ministries issued a statement about the attack which started shortly before 11pm on Saturday.

"Due to the gravity and nature of the attack, it cannot be excluded that it is a targeted attack by a state actor," the statement said.

In the past, other European countries have been the target of similar attacks. Immediate measures have been taken and a coordination committee set up, the statement said.

The attack came as Austria's Greens on Saturday gave the go-ahead to a coalition with the country's conservatives at a party congress in Salzburg, removing the last obstacle to the unprecedented alliance.

The German government's IT network was hit by a cyber attack in 2018.

Last year, the European Union adopted powers to punish those outside the bloc who launch cyber attacks that cripple hospitals and banks, sway elections and steal company secrets or funds.