Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

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

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

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

The cyber breach affects more than 500 politicians from all major parties, with the exception of the far-right AfD.

"Those responsible want to damage confidence in our democracy and their institutions", Katarina Barley, the German justice minister, said.

A government spokeswoman said no sensitive data from the chancellor's office had been published.

It was unclear if the breach, which triggered an emergency meeting of the national cyber defence agency, was the result of a hack or a leak, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said. The majority of them only featured private data and didn't include anything relating to politics. Spokespeople for the German government said that government computer systems had not been penetrated.

The details dumped on a Twitter account included addresses, personal letters and copies of identity cards, reported the country's media.

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German politicians and prominent newsmakers have fallen victim of what appears a brazen hack attack on their private data. Members of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) were particularly badly hit, with some 400 CDU politicians' data leaked, reports German daily Bild. Data started to be released last month on two Twitter accounts called Orbit and Orbiter in the style of an advent calendar in the run up to Christmas and on a blog, Orbiter.

Fietz said the amount of Merkel's data that was exposed was "not excessive" but warned that some of the documents and information published might have been faked. The Twitter account describes itself with labels such as security research, artist and satire.

Last year, the domestic intelligence service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, said there had been repeated cyberattacks against MPs, the military and several embassies that were allegedly carried out by Russian internet espionage group "Snake". Niemiec said he communicated with the hacker on Thursday and urged him to release Unge's account.

The security source told Bild that the government's networks were not fending off any sustained attack.

In 2017 the German parliament was reportedly able to repel an attack which lured lawmakers to a Jerusalem Post page infected with malicious ads, while past year, the BSI investigated a possible intrusion into a government communications network.

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