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Merkel, German Politicians Hit by Data Breach

Addresses, phone numbers shared via Twitter on Friday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 4, 2019 12:04 PM CST
German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Bundestag on Nov. 21, 2018.   (Ralf Hirschberger/dpa via AP)
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(Newser) – Personal data and documents on hundreds of German politicians and others have been posted online, and German cyber-defense experts were trying to figure out Friday how the information was obtained, per the AP. The data breach hit politicians at all levels—including the European, German, and state parliaments as well as those on city governments, said a rep for Chancellor Angela Merkel. "The German government takes this incident very seriously," Martina Fietz said Friday, adding that the country's cyber-defense center was investigating the breach, in which "it appears, at first sight, that no sensitive information and data" was published. Public broadcaster RBB, which first reported the issue Friday morning, said there appeared to be no method to what was posted via a Twitter account.

Although the data—some years old—reportedly include cellphone numbers, addresses, internal party communications, and in some cases personal bills and credit card details, RBB said there appeared to be no politically sensitive documents. German media reported that a fax number and email address belonging to Merkel and several letters to and from the chancellor were published. The Twitter account in question, suspended Friday, had acquired 17,000 followers since mid-2017. The links it posted suggested that information on politicians from all parties in parliament except the far-right Alternative for Germany had been shared in daily batches before Christmas along with data on YouTubers and some other public figures. The head of Germany's IT security agency said the government's computer network was not affected.

(Read more data breach stories.)

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