Thursday, 17 January, 2019

German Politicians Targeted In Sweeping Hacking Attack

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's data has been leaked as well as that of many other German politicians APGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel's data has been leaked as well as that of many other German politicians
Ellis Copeland | 08 January, 2019, 18:44

Hundreds of German politicians including Chancellor Angela Merkel have had personal details hacked and published online, reports say.

Beyond politicians, who also included President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, celebrities and journalists were also targeted.

Germany's BSI federal cyber agency said Friday it was as yet unclear who had perpetrated the hack. All major parties except the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) were affected, according to Der Spiegel magazine. The release only gained widespread attention on January 3, however, after the Twitter account of a popular YouTuber was hacked in an effort to promote the material.

A spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, Martina Fietz, said the chancellery was informed of the matter on Thursday evening.

"Those responsible want to damage confidence in our democracy and their institutions", Katarina Barley, the German justice minister, said.

Bild newspaper said the secure internal network of Germany's government was not hit by the hackers, citing sources inside the BSI.

The main account belonged to someone who described themselves as being involved in both security research and satire, Deutsche Welle said.

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According to German news outlets [1, 2, 3], which first reported the hack, the leaked data contains names, home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, photo IDs, personal photos, and personal chat histories.

Among the affected are hundreds of politicians from the left-wing party Die Linke, a spokesperson of the party confirmed to ABC News.

One possible access point to the data could have been the network of the Bundestag lower house of parliament, which has been the target of several cyberattacks, including one in 2015 for which...

German cyber-security analyst Sven Herpig said Russian Federation was a suspect, due to the method used and also because the country was facing four state elections in 2019 as well as elections to the European Parliament, the BBC said.

"This data leak shows the continued power of using social media to spread weaponized information for political effect", Laura Rosenberger, a former foreign policy adviser for Hillary for America, told Newsweek. The Hamburg-based account, calling itself G0d, was opened in 2017 and has more than 18,000 followers.

Security officials have blamed most previous breaches of data security on a Russian hacking group, while the Kremlin has consistently denied involvement in such incidents.

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