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German cyber defence agency defends handling of far-reaching data breach

German cyber defence agency defends handling of far-reaching data breach

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.

Contacts, private chats and financial details were put out on Twitter that belong to figures from every political party except the far-right AfD.

The information that was leaked includes full names, addresses, personal letters and ID cards, but also credit card details and mobile phone numbers, according to ARD TV and rbb.

Fietz told a government press conference that an initial analysis suggested the leak affected politicians of all levels including the European parliament, German parliament and regional parliaments.

In a massive data breach, personal information of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and hundreds of other German politicians were published online by anonymous hackers.

One possible access point to the data could have been the network of the Bundestag lower house of parliament, which has been the target of several cyberattacks, including one in 2015 for which...

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. "According to current information, government networks have not been targeted".

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Security officials have blamed most previous attacks on a Russian hacking group APT28 that experts say has close ties to a Russian spy agency.

The police and intelligence services have opened an investigation and the Federal Prosecutor's Office said that it was ready to begin proceedings should agents of a foreign power be involved.

Justice Minister Katarina Barley has already given her take on the incident, calling it a "grave attack" on the country's democracy. Other people of public interest, including artists and journalists, were also among those affected.

"The perpetrators must now be identified quickly and their potential political motives made clear", said Barley, adding that the attack was serious.

Tom Kellermann, the chief cybersecurity officer of Carbon Black, was among analysts saying the hack had all the hallmarks of Russian state-backed hackers.

The documents were posted online as early as December over a Hamburg-based Twitter account that released them in an Advent calendar style.