Hackers Hurt Hundreds of German Politicians, Merkel Included
Other public figures such as journalists and celebrities have also been targetted.
Hundreds of top-level politicians in Germany, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have been affected by a hacking attack that has leaked online their personal information as well as internal party documents.
The hackers targeted all political parties represented in the German Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament, with the exception of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party: the ruling rightist CDU / CSU and leftist SPD, Die Linke (the Left), the Greens, and liberal centrist FDP.
A number of German politicians at the state level were also affected, reports RBB Inforadio, a Berlin-area German public broadcaster, as cited by DW.
So were a number of other public figures such as journalists and celebrities, BBC World reports. These include journalists from state-owned TV channels ARD and ZDF, TV satirist Jan Böhmermann, rapper Marteria and rap group K.I.Z.
The leaked documents with personal details about the German political leadership were discovered online on Thursday evening, on January 3, 2019.
However, they appear to have been posted back in December 2018 through a Twitter account based in Hamburg, Germany, describing itself as “security research, artist and satire”.
The account, which has about 17,000 followers, leaked the information of the hundreds of German politicians in an Advent-calendar style.
Most of the leaked details include addresses and cell phone numbers but in some cases they also feature banking and financial information, ID cards and private chats.
Leaked internal documents from Germany’s mainstream political parties included job applications, party memos, and lists of party members, some of which dating back over a year ago.
None of the party documents released by the hackers are said to be highly sensitive. Nothing is known about the perpetrator(s) of the hacking attack against Germany’s political leadership, and their motives.
“The people behind this want to damage confidence in our democracy and institutions,” German Justice Minister Katarina Barley said, describing the hacking case as a “serious attack”.
Germany’s federal office for information security (BSI), which is investigating the hack, stated that government networks were not affected, as far as it was aware.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who resigned as leader of the ruling CDU party in December 2018, saw her email address and several letters to and from her leaked by the hackers.
German government institutions have been under cyber attacks recently, with the Bundestag targeted in 2015, and the government’s IT network in 2018, in both cases allegedly targeted by Russian hackers.
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