German Student Admits to Massive Data Hack

A German student has confessed to stealing and leaking private data from hundreds of politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying he was motivated by “anger over their public statements”

Photo: AP

Germany's investigative police force, the BKA, has arrested a local student in connection with one of the largest data leaks in Germany's history. The 20-year-old from the western German state of Hesse could now face charges of stealing and illegally publishing private data, DW reported Tuesday.

“The suspect… extensively confessed to the accusations against him and provided helpful information beyond his own crimes,” the BKA announced in a statement.

According to the BKA, the suspect said he was acting alone, and there are no indications of anyone else or any foreign state being involved. The BKA said the suspect had indicated he was motivated by “anger at the public statements of the politicians, journalists and public figures concerned.”

At a press conference, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the identity of the suspect had been known since Sunday.

The minister said attempts had been made to delete the stolen data immediately after the leak became known late on January 3, and that his Ministry had advised members of the German parliament on what to do about the hack. He said authorities had worked “very well, very quickly and very efficiently.”

BKA President Holger Münch said the sole suspect had been located within 48 hours of the leak becoming known, and authorities had succeeded in preventing the data from being further disseminated.

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