Christmas is a time for giving. Apparently, hackers believe giving away confidential data of German politicians, celebrities and prominent public figures is keeping in line with the spirit of the season.
Hackers released the confidential
information in a series of tweets published in December which only came to
light in the New Year.
Leaked data include internal
political communications, personal phone numbers and addresses, internal party
documents, credit card details, private chat logs and even voicemails from
relatives and children.
Lukasz Olejnik, an independent
cybersecurity adviser and research associate at the Center for Technology and
Global Affairs at Oxford University is of the opinion that there is reason for
“There is no doubt that personal
data leaks can be dangerous. It’s difficult to offer protection to the victims.
“So far I don’t see one
particular target—it looks like it comes from many sources and platforms. It
makes you wonder why the leaked data concerns a very broad political
It has been reported that all of the
main German political parties except the far-right Alternative for Germany
(AfD) had been targeted, which led to speculations that far-right supporters
are behind the major hacking.
Michael Götschenberg, a reporter for
ARD downplayed the accusations:
“You have to ask yourself where all
this data comes from.”
He added that no politically
sensitive data appeared to have been leaked but some “especially painful”
personal chats relating to “family life” were published.
The motives behind the leaks have not
been established. The hackers have not made any demands or statements of
intent, making it difficult to determine their true agenda.
“There aren’t too many reasons
for compiling a dataset like that. Selling would be an option, but since the
data was dumped that’s unlikely,” says German security researcher Matthias
Merkel. “And there are just some state elections coming up in Germany,
German politicians were alarmed by
the extent of the leaks and agreed that those behind them had intended to take
a stab at destabilizing citizens’ trust in democracy.
“Whoever is behind this
wants to damage faith in our democracy and its institutions,” the justice
minister, Katarina Barley, said in a statement.
“[Those] responsible want to
intimidate politicians,” added the SPD secretary general, Lars Klingbeil. “That
will not succeed.”