Published: Sun, January 06, 2019
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Massive data leak affects hundreds of German politicians

Massive data leak affects hundreds of German politicians

The Federal Office for Information Security has been lambasted for not contacting the police about the leak till the breach became public knowledge last Friday, with the publication of the personal data of almost 1,000 lawmakers and other prominent Germans on the Internet.

Data from celebrities and journalists also appear to have been leaked. It remains unclear who was behind the attack and the motive, but some of the pilfered information is reported to be years old.

The information, which comprised home addresses, mobile phone numbers, letters, invoices and copies of identity documents, was published via Twitter in December but inexplicably only came to light this week.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said an initial analysis suggests that the material was obtained from cloud services, email accounts or social networks.

Martina Fietz, a spokeswoman for Merkel, told reporters that "it appears, at first sight, that no sensitive information and data are included in what was published, including regarding the chancellor".

Links to the data were tweeted out by a Twitter account @_Orbit in the form of an Advent calendar leading up to Christmas - but no one took notice of it until Thursday night.

National and local political figures as well as some TV personalities have had their details stolen.

Politicians from the far-left Linke party were among those affected, including Dietmar Bartsch, leader of its group in the lower parliamentary house, a spokesman said.

The BSI said investigations so far had showed the data breaches predominantly concerned private and personal accounts, but that it is responsible for the operational protection of government networks.

The daily Bild and public broadcaster RBB first reported the leak.

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

And in 2015, pro-Russian hackers claimed responsibility for a series of cyberattacks that brought down government websites.

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

Fietz said the amount of Merkel's data that was exposed was "not excessive" but warned that some of the documents and information published might have been faked. "This is about attempting to destabilise Germany society", he said.

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