Saturday, 5 January 2019

Hackers leak details of German lawmakers

Hackers leak details of German lawmakers

Twitter shut down an account on Friday that an unidentified hacker had been using for weeks to expose the personal details of several hundred German lawmakers in what appeared to be major privacy breach for the German political establishment. 

It was not immediately clear who was behind the publication of the information, including personal emails, chats, identity cards and contact details.

 It was also not clear how the data was obtained, German officials said.

 Links to sites hosting the material were posted on Twitter by an account named GOd. 

The breach appeared to target lawmakers from every major political party but one: the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD. 

Personal information from artists and journalists with leftist political leanings was also published. 

Beyond Germany, the hacking adds to concerns about the security of European parliamentary elections in May, which many officials fear are vulnerable to digital interference and disinformation campaigns by hackers or state-backed groups. 

Last month, European Union officials announced an action plan to better coordinate responses to false messages around the elections. 

 The information was released through links published on Twitter in the form of an Advent calendar, beginning on December 1 with information about the German television comedian Jan Bohmermann, and ending with members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party and its Bavarian counterpart. 

German news outlets reported the data breach late on Thursday, and it was not immediately clear why it took more than a month to be discovered. 

The Federal Office for Information Security called a crisis meeting on Friday to coordinate with the country’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies in investigating the leaks.

 Based on an initial assessment, the office said, it did not appear that the main government computer network had been penetrated. 

Martina Fietz, a spokeswoman for Merkel, said that it did not appear that sensitive information from the chancellery, or any of the chancellor’s personal data, had been leaked. 

German news outlets reported that Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had been among those targeted.

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