Hundreds of German Politicians Hacked in Massive Breach

Chancellor Angela Merkel (Photo: AP)

Personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures including Chancellor Angela Merkel have been published online, in what was described as one of the country’s worst cybersecurity breaches.

The leaked information included mobile numbers and addresses, their emails, internet chats, and credit card details. The German Interior Ministry said it remained unclear if the breach was the result of a hack or a leak.

The public broadcaster rbb, which broke the story, said the data, published on a Twitter account, included addresses, personal letters and copies of identity cards. It said the identity of the perpetrators and their motive were not known.

The twitter account, which existed for four years and has now been deleted, first began releasing data in December in an electronic “Advent calendar.” The extent of the data leaks first became apparent last Thursday, sources said.

The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) said all but one of the seven parties in the lower house had been affected. German media said that party was the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“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.


[Sources: Reuters, Financial Times, DW]