Cybersecurity bill comes as regulation increases across Europe.
Germany’s parliament passed legislation that will allow authorities to fine critical infrastructure groups up to €100,000, (£70,000) if their cybersecurity is lacking, in only the latest European regulation aimed at tightening the continent’s digital safety.
The bill, which was drafted last August, passed through the upper house of the Bundesrat last Friday, having moved through the lower house of the Bundestag in June.
Under its terms 2,000 essential service providers will have two years to upgrade their cybersecurity measures or face penalties, with affected firms involved in transport, water, telecoms, finance and health.
In addition to the penalties some companies will be obliged to warn customers and the German information security authority about cyberattacks and breaches, as well as store traffic for up to six months.
Fears over the country’s cybersecurity posture were raised in January after a group opposed to the Ukrainian government seemingly attacked the German administration’s official website.
Justifying the intrusion the CyberBerkut hackers said: "This war [in Ukraine] has already taken thousands of lives, and [prime minister Arseniy] Yatsenyuk will kill more for your money!
"That’s why we appeal to all people and the government of Germany to stop financial and political support of criminal regime in Kiev, which unleashed a bloody civil war."
Such geopolitical attacks have become more common over the last few years, with major powers such as China, Russia and the US swapping blows over critical infrastructure and data.
Germany’s cybersecurity bill also comes as plans move forward to strengthen European regulation on cybersecurity throughout the EU, a scheme which could give regulators the power to lay down fines worth 5% of a firm’s annual turnover.
At the same time the recently elected Conservative government is planning to bring in a so-called "Snooper’s Charter" giving government greater power to access citizens’ telecoms data in a bid to combat terrorism and extremism.