German mass data attack 'known for weeks' by cyber officials

Marsha Scott
January 6, 2019

The links it posted led to information on politicians from all parties in parliament except Alternative for Germany that had been shared in daily batches before Christmas along with data on YouTubers and other public figures that media reports said included journalists, comedians and artists. The first post published on December 1 and the hacker was posting daily updates until Friday, when Twitter suspended the account.

Although nothing politically explosive is known to have been leaked, the sheer volume of personal data involved suggests the consequences could be considerable, says Michael Götschenberg, a reporter for German broadcaster RBB, who researched the attack.

FILE--In this picture taken Nov.21, 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) speaks in the Bundestag.

Among the apparent targets were Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has come under fire after it emerged that they knew about the leak since December, while the Federal Crime Office was only notified on Friday, news agency DPA and newspaper Bild report.

Berlin´s political establishment reacted with alarm.

"The people behind this want to damage confidence in our democracy and its institutions", the country's Justice Minister Katarina Barley told ABC News in a statement.

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Beyond politicians, the leak also exposed the private data of celebrities and journalists, including chats and voicemail messages from spouses and children of those targeted.

Judging by an initial review, no sensitive information from the chancellery had been published, "and this includes (from) the chancellor", she said.

Public broadcaster ARD reported earlier that the data, from hundreds of politicians and published on a Twitter account, included addresses, personal letters and copies of identity cards, citing affiliate rbb.

The breach compromised the personal data of politicians from regional parliaments, the federal parliament, and the European Parliament, the German government stated earlier.

The city-state of Hamburg was working with Irish data protection authorities to stop the data being spread via Twitter, but said the company had not been responsive. "According to current information, government networks have not been targeted".

And past year the government's IT network came under attack amid reports that Russian hackers were also to blame.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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