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Hackers release private data of hundreds of German lawmakers and journalists

08 January 2019

The national cyber-defence centre convened a meeting on Friday morning.

Links to the data appeared daily on the Twitter account in December in an advent calendar-style, but it was only noticed more recently.

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.

However a spokesman for the German Ministry of the Interior told AFP that German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and government deputies from all the political parties represented in the Bundestag had been affected by the breach, which appeared to have come from multiple sources.

It is not clear when the hacks happened, but it is being reported much of the information appears to have been stolen in October 2018.

Germany's BSI cyber defence agency defended its role in responding to a far-reaching data breach today, saying it could not have connected individual cases it was aware of past year until the entire data release became public.

Hundreds of German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have had personal details stolen and published on social media.

"With regard to the Chancellery it seems that judging by the initial review, no sensitive information and data have been published and this includes (from) the chancellor", a government spokeswoman told reporters.

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. MPs, Euro MPs and MPs from state parliaments were affected, said Martina Fietz.

The hackers even "very personal data" such as conversations with family members, RBB reported.

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) wrote on Twitter that they are "currently intensively examining the case in close cooperation with other federal authorities". Security firm Trend Micro has linked the Bundestag attack and others to Pawn Storm, a group with ties to Russian Federation - whose government has repeatedly denied it's hacking foreign powers.

Security officials have blamed most previous breaches of data security on a Russian hacking group, while the Kremlin has consistently denied involvement in such incidents. The "G0d" Twitter account describes itself using the words "security researching" and "Satire & Ironie".

The Twitter account listed as located in Hamburg was taken offline at midday Friday after gaining about 17,000 followers.

Hackers release private data of hundreds of German lawmakers and journalists