German Politicians Targeted In Sweeping Hacking Attack

A spokeswoman for Merkel said the government was taking the matter 'very seriously'

A spokeswoman for Merkel said the government was taking the matter 'very seriously'

Hackers have published cellphone numbers, credit card data and private communications belonging to members of almost every German political party, in a sweeping breach last month that reportedly also affected German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The data, published on a Twitter account, also included addresses, personal letters and copies of identity cards, the public broadcaster said, citing affiliate rbb.

Interestingly, members of all parties in the Bundestag are represented in the leak, except for the far right AfD, which could hint at the motivation of those behind the hack.

The identity of the hackers and their motive were not known, the report said.

Discovered only yesterday, the information had actually been released over the past fortnight by Twitter user "G0d", who claims to be based in Hamburg and whose biog indicates is a security researcher with an interest in "satire & ironie". They also don't know who's behind the leak.

Germany's Federal Office for IT Safety (BSI) said on Saturday that it had only become aware of a massive data breach affecting hundreds of lawmakers on Friday, several weeks after a lawmaker had told BSI officials about suspicious activity on their personal accounts.

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley called it a "serious attack", created to "damage confidence in our democracy and institutions".

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In the days before Christmas, hackers quietly posted online the data of some of Germany's most powerful leaders "in a kind of Advent calendar", RBB reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as President Frank-Walter Steinmeier were also among the affected, The Rheinische Post reports.

A spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, Martina Fietz, said the chancellery was informed of the matter on Thursday evening.

German daily newspaper Bild said the theft of the data continued until the end of October but it was not clear when it started. "It will be important for media organizations covering the leaks to think carefully about how to cover the story without serving as a megaphone to spread the leaked information-likely one of the attacker's goals", Rosenberger added.

The BSI met to coordinate the response of intelligence and other federal agencies.

The security source told Bild that the government's networks were not fending off any sustained attack. It was suspended by Twitter on Friday morning.

At the time, Moscow denied that Russian hackers were involved.

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