Hacker News Setting December Zodiac
The Frankfurt General Public Prosecutor's Office, together with the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), has taken on an investigation into the theft of data from politicians, parties and celebrities. A spokesman for the authorities said on Friday. He assumed the investigation was "very costly". "Finding perpetrators on the Internet is always very difficult," he said, referring to the investigators' work. A prognosis as to when the first information about the procedure will be available cannot be made.
On Friday morning it became known that hackers had sucked off massive amounts of data from several hundred German politicians and other celebrities and put it on the Internet. The data is primarily private telephone numbers, residential addresses and e-mail addresses and identity card data, but also mail and chat histories. The leaks were spread via a Twitter account that has more than 17,000 followers. After the publications became known through an rbb report, the account was deleted on Friday morning. The distribution began as early as December 1st - in a kind of advent calendar, in which new links to various files were posted daily via tweet.
According to its own information, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has been informed about the data theft for some time. "We spoke accordingly very early in December with individual MPs who were affected by this," President Arne Schönbohm told the Phoenix television station on Friday. Countermeasures have also been initiated. Among other things, a special team to help those affected (Mobile Incident Response Team) was sent out. "So there were certain actions early on," he said.
Most of the theft seems to be about private data, not politically sensitive information. Members of the Bundestag and other politicians from all parties represented in the Bundestag are affected - with the exception of the AfD. For example, e-mail addresses and address books, private telephone numbers and residential addresses are given for all Federal Ministers and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Private messages from numerous members of the Bundestag are also among the files, for example from SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil to the Chancellor or from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to members of the government parliamentary groups. Alleged criminal charges against some local politicians were photographed. Several photographed chat processes are supposed to show conversations between the Greens boss Robert Habeck and his wife and children. It is still unclear whether the material is authentic in all cases.
"Affected are politicians and elected officials at all levels," confirmed a spokeswoman for the federal government at a press conference. Not only members of the Bundestag, but also local, regional and European politicians are among the names. "The federal government takes this incident very seriously," emphasized the spokeswoman. The Chancellery received knowledge of the publications during the night. As far as information about the Chancellery is concerned, "after a first inspection it looks like that the publications contain no sensitive information and data, not even with regard to the Chancellor".
It is still unclear where the data comes from - but it has now become clear that some file packages come from old leaks. But there is also current, so far non-public material, as a spokesman for the Interior Ministry confirmed at the press conference. The Interior Ministry only found out about the case "in bulk" on Friday night.
"The authors want to damage trust in our democracy and its institutions," said Justice Minister Katarina Barley (SPD). Barley stressed that the perpetrators must be identified quickly and their possible political motives clarified. "Criminals and their backers must not determine any debates in our country," warned the Justice Minister. Secretary General Klingbeil said that the SPD would not be intimidated by the publication of the sensitive data. "The competition between democratic parties takes place through the competition of ideas - not through the publication of sensitive, personal data."
The parliamentary manager of the Greens, Britta Haßelmann, was also combative and said that one would not be intimidated. She criticized that the Greens had often pointed out "that IT security is extremely bad."
Several celebrities also seem to have been affected by the attack, for example the moderators Jan Böhmermann, Christian Ehring and Oliver Welke as well as several Tagesschau editors. Personal data of some Youtubers are included, such as Gronkh and LeFloid. The rappers Marteria and Casper and the band K.I.Z. are also affected. The head of Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Jürgen Resch, and a pro-Palestinian activist also appear. Photos were also published, apparently of Böhmermann's children, for example.
Who is behind this is so far completely unclear. Earlier cyber attacks on the Bundestag had originated from Russia, among others.
The Federal Office for Security and Information Technology announced in an initial reaction that it would be intensively examining the case. "According to the current state of knowledge, the government networks are not affected," writes the BSI on Twitter.
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