Data leak puts German politicians’ details into the public domain

The private data of hundreds of German politicians and leading public figures has been leaked through a Twitter account.

Among the pieces of information compromised in the incident are private communications, credit card numbers, personal phone numbers, addresses and party documents, the Guardian reports.

The unauthorised access and publication of the information is thought to constitute the European nation’s most significant data breaches.

Explaining how the leak has impacted upon officials at all levels of German politics, government spokeswoman, Martina Fietz asserted that the government was taking the situation “very seriously” and said that fake documents could be among those that were published online in December.

Also included in the exposed cache were a number of files from Angela Merkel, but private data from the chancellory was not leaked, the German media said.

Following the leak’s discovery on Thursday of last week, the Christian Democrats have led talks on how the events were able to unfold, focusing on the authenticity of the data compromised and the scale of any damage caused.

The Twitter account at the root of the affair was named @_0rbit, according to the BBC, had over 17,000 followers and apparently operated from Hamburg.

One of the main victims of the leak was German Green party leader, Robert Hack, who had personal chats with family members put online.

Reporter at German broadcaster, ARD, Michael Götschenberg, who reports for German broadcaster, ARD, has questioned the origins of the data set, and lamented the sensitive nature of some of the family discussions that were made public.

The apparent scale of the information accessed so far implies that multiple sources were involved in the incident, and much of the information is thought to be genuine.

Journalists and celebrities in Germany were the first to be hit by the attack, for which motives remain unclear.

A ministry spokesperson has been unable to explain whether the documents were accessed by a dedicated external hacking operation, or by an individual on the inside of the German parliament.

Interior minister, Horst Seehofer said:

“After an initial analysis much evidence points towards the data being obtained through the improper use of login details to cloud services, email accounts or social networks. Currently nothing points towards the system of the parliament or government having been compromised.”

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