Hackers Leak Details of German Lawmakers, Except Those on Far-Right

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BERLIN — Twitter shut down an account on Friday that an unidentified hacker had been using for weeks to expose the personal details of dozens of German lawmakers across the political spectrum.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the leaks, which included personal emails, chats and contact details, and which were posted on Twitter by an account named GOd. But the breach targeted lawmakers from every major political party but one — the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD — as well as artists with leftist political leanings.

The leaked data was released through links published on Twitter in the form of an advent calendar, beginning with information about the German television comedian Jan Böhmermann on Dec. 1 and ending with members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party and its Bavarian counterpart. German news outlets reported the leaked information late Thursday, and it was not immediately clear why it took more than a month for it to be found.

The Federal Office for Information Security called a crisis meeting on Friday to coordinate with the country’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies in investigating the leaks. Based on an initial assessment, the office said, it did not appear that the main government network had been affected.

Martina Fietz, a spokeswoman for Ms. Merkel, said that it did not appear that sensitive information from the chancellery, or any of the chancellor’s personal data, had been leaked. German news outlets reported that Ms. Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had been among those targeted.

Hours after news of the hacking broke, Twitter deleted the account that had been used to publish links to the information, which appeared on several different servers. Users could gain access to the data through simple passwords published on the information pages.

A spokesman for the Left Party confirmed that the information of some of its members had been exposed, including Dietmar Bartsch, leader of its group in the lower house of Parliament.

The first person whose information was leaked was Mr. Böhmermann, who sought several months ago to organize opposition to a group of far-right trolls known as Reconquista Germanica. The leak, which included Mr. Böhmermann’s phone numbers, personal chats and photographs of his two young sons, was advertised as, “Nice things that you can have fun with.”

Germany’s main government network was breached by hackers in 2015, and the authorities worried that information obtained then would be used against politicians leading up to the 2017 election. Those fears were largely unfounded.

Hackers appeared to have again penetrated the German government’s main data network in March, however, a system that was supposed to be particularly secure and is used by the chancellor’s office, ministries and Parliament.



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