Friday, January 4, 2019

German Chancellor And Bundestag Politicians Hacked

German politicians from all parties, except the populist AfD movement, have been hacked.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior politicians were reportedly hit by a data hack, with some of their letters, contact details and party memos leaked on social media. Germany's digital defense body is intensively investigating the apparent data leak that saw data of hundreds of German politicians from across the political spectrum being published online, a spokesman for the Federal Office for IT Safety (BSI) said on Friday. "Hacking attack against politicians: The BSI is currently intensively probing the issue in close cooperation with other federal institutions," the BSI said on Twitter, adding that "according to what we know so far" the government's confidential networks were unaffected.

The hack targeted all of Germany's political parties currently represented in the federal parliament, except for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). Politicians at the state level were also affected. Preliminary review of the documents discovered no sensitive information. However, the data published on Twitter included mobile phone numbers, contact info, and credit card details from members of Germany's major parties. The leak also included banking and financial details, ID cards and private chats. Justice Minister Katarina Barley described the incident as a "serious attack." "The perpetrators wanted to damage our trust in democracy and our institutions," she told reporters


Among the apparent targets were Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "With regard to the Chancellery it seems that, judging by the initial review, no sensitive information and data have been published and this includes (from) the chancellor," a government spokeswoman told reporters. The hackers published Merkel's fax number, email address and several letters written by and addressed to her, according to the DPA news agency.



Watch DW video: Hackers target Bundestag lower house, and the European Parliament.
The information leaked as early as December, the document leakage was first discovered  on Thursday evening of 03 January 2019, the RBB Inforadio, a Berlin-area German public broadcaster, reported. However, the documents had apparently been posted online as early as December 2018 over a Hamburg-based Twitter account that released them in an Advent-calendar style. The Twitter account describes itself with labels such as security research, artist and satire. Read more: Twitter says software bug may have exposed direct messages The account has since been closed. 

The authenticity of the leaked data could not be immediately verified and no discernible pattern could be detected to the leaked documents. There is no known suspect or motivation at present. On Friday, Germany's defense ministry announced they were not affected by the alleged hacking. According to Reuters, the BSI was only informed about the hacking shortly before the story was reported by German media.


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