2019 kicked off with a major security breach in Germany that compromised the personal data of some 1,000 politicians, journalists and celebrities, including Angela Merkel, Green party leader Robert Habeck, TV personality Jan Böhmermann and many others, including rappers and members of the German parliament, writes the BBC. For now, there is no evidence suggesting far-right party AfD members were also targeted.
While authorities initially had no idea who was behind the cyberattack, they brought in a 20-year-old German man for questioning, says The Guardian. At first he denied accusations but confirmed he knew who was behind the Twitter account that caused the breach: @_0rbit located in Hamburg, Germany.
In December, the Twitter account @_0rbit published the stolen data online disguised in a daily advent calendar. The compromised data includes telephone numbers, credit card information, photos, addresses, private conversations and contacts, reported BKA – the German federal criminal police. The account, which had over 17,000 followers, has been suspended.
Shortly after interrogation, the man, identified as Jan S., confessed to the attack, which he claims he carried out “alone and out of annoyance at statements made by the public figures he attacked.” On Twitter he also used the account name “G0d.” BKA says so far there is no evidence that a third-party was involved.
Interior Minister Seehofer told the BBC at the time that the data was accessed through “wrongful use of log-in information for cloud services, email accounts or social networks.” There is no evidence that government systems were hacked.
German newspaper Bild claims the data compromised is as old as October 2018, possibly even older.
Jan S. was released on Monday “due to a lack of grounds for detention.”