The private data and correspondence of hundreds of German politicians and public figures including Angela Merkel have been released online in one of the biggest hacks in the country’s history.
Politicians from all major German political parties except the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) were targeted in the leaks, The Telegraph reported Friday.
The private emails, telephone numbers and even holiday photos of MPs, prominent journalists and entertainers were released via a Twitter account
In a serious embarrassment to the German security services, it emerged that the data has been released in a series of daily installments since December 1, but authorities only became aware of the leak in the last 24 hours.
The data was released via a Twitter account in the name of @_Orbit, registered to a user claiming to be in Hamburg. The account has since been suspended and some of the shared files have been taken down.
Immediate suspicion will be directed towards Russian state-sponsored hackers. Germany’s counterintelligence service, the BfV, has previously accused hackers working for the Russian government of being behind a series of cyberattacks on the German parliament and other state institutions.
“Those responsible want to damage confidence in our democracy and their institutions,” Katarina Barley, the German justice minister, said.
Last year it emerged that three prominent AfD politicians flew to Moscow in a private jet paid for by the Russian government in 2017. Two of the politicians concerned have since left the party.