Hackers Attack Hundreds Of High-Profile German Politicians, Post Private Data Online

Frederick Owens
January 8, 2019

Hacked information that was leaked via Twitter included private data from German Chancellor Angela Merkel - seen here speaking in Germany's Bundestag last month.

The data included credit card details, phone numbers and email addresses, one political party told CNN. Some German YouTube bloggers and journalists were also affected.

The information leaked was of personal nature, some of which are several years old, however, no politically sensitive information appears to have been published.

Though the Twitter account was suspended, the hacker provided multiple back-up links for people to download the breached files.

Public broadcaster ARD, which broke the story, said its journalists had as yet detected no incriminating content.

"This hack clearly isn't about extortion or financially motivated".

YouTube producer Tomasz Niemiec, who says he knows the person who took over Unge's account, told news outlet T-online.de that the attacks are the work of a sole hacker - and that the man's goal is to gain attention for himself.

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Authorities were investigating all possibilities, including espionage, one government source said on Friday, adding that it was unlikely any single person could have compiled the massive amounts of data that had been released.

Although documents had been posted on the account from 1 December to 28 December, it was not until Thursday evening that officials became aware of the theft.

BSI head Arne Schönbohm said on Friday that the agency had spoken with "some lawmakers" affected by the breach in early December, but did not say that the agency had assumed these breaches to be isolated cases. Dietmar Bartsch, the leader of the party's group in Germany's lower house of parliament was also affected. A number of high-profile musicians and comedians have also been caught up in the attack.

"By what means these data that have now been published were obtained can't be stated with certainty at this time", Schmidt said at a regular government news conference in Berlin. His agency was still working to figure out how the attack started and who was behind it.

The leak affects politicians part of all of Germany's left and centrist political parties, such as the CDU, CSU, SPD, Greens, Left Party, and the FDP.

Suspicion will be directed at Russian state-sponsored hackers.

"It's in Russia's best interests for the far-right politicians to be successful", Kellermann added.

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