German man admits to politician data breach

A 20-year-old man has admitted to police that he was behind the recent data breach that exposed the personal data and documents of almost 1,000 German politicians and public figures online.

The man responsible for the breach said he acted alone and that his actions were not politically motivated. He is still in the education system and lives with his parents in the central German state of Hesse.

The hacker went by the pseudonyms “G0T” and “Orbit” and investigators were able to discover his identity by following his digital tracks online including his communications with a 19-year-old man using an encrypted messaging service.

He is accused of spying, leaking data and the unwarranted publication of personal data which could warrant a three-year prison sentence but due to his age it is likely he'll instead be sent to a young offenders' institute.

Wake up call for Germany

German interior minister Horst Seehofer responded to widespread criticism that the country's authorities had been slow to solve the case and that he had failed to keep the public properly informed on the matter.

According to Seehofer, the hacker would have had a harder time gathering data if his victims had used stronger passwords, saying:

“Bad passwords were one of the reasons he had it so easy. ILoveYou’, ‘1,2,3’. A whole array of really simple things.” 

Seehofer stressed that both politicians and the public need to improve their cybersecurity measures as attacks such as this one will likely become more commonplace. He also announced the recruitment of hundreds of cybersecurity experts to the police force and a full time IT team to prevent and identify future attacks.

Via The Guardian

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Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.