News World German student admits to data hack that hit Merkel and others

German student admits to data hack that hit Merkel and others

A student has confessed to one of Germany’s biggest data breaches, police said on Tuesday, ending the mystery of who hacked Angela Merkel and other public figures, but doing little to ease the embarrassment of cyber security authorities.

Police did not name the 20-year-old but said he lives with his parents and is not a computer expert. Despite that, he managed to access and leak personal data and documents from about 1,000 people, including Chancellor Merkel, other politicians and journalists.

The man was arrested after police searched a property in the central state of Hesse on Sunday evening. Investigators recovered a computer that the suspect had removed two days before the search, and a data backup.

He has been released and is cooperating with investigators.

“During the interrogation, the accused admitted to having acted alone in data spying and the unauthorised publication of data,” the federal crime office BKA said in a statement.

“The investigations have so far provided no indication of the participation of a third party.”

Suspicion had fallen on Russian hackers, blamed for most previous German data breaches, although the Kremlin has denied involvement in such incidents.

There was also speculation that the hack may have involved German far-right activists. Prosecutors declined to comment on any political sympathies the suspect may have but said no radical material had been found.

“The accused said his motivation had been irritation over public statements made by the politicians, journalists and public figures affected,” senior prosecutor Georg Ungefuk said.

Ungefuk told reporters the suspect was repentant and seemed unaware of the full consequences of his actions, adding he had also helped authorities on other matters of interest regarding cyber crime.

The breach has prompted calls for tighter data security laws, especially after the cyber defence agency, BSI, said it was contacted by a lawmaker in early December about suspicious activity on private email and social media.

Sabine Vogt, who heads the federal police division for serious and organised crime, rejected stricter controls, saying it was up to individuals to secure their data.

“We don’t want a surveillance state based on the fact that something like this can happen here,” she told reporters.

However, Konstantin von Notz, a Greens lawmaker who was hacked, described the case as a “final warning shot”:

“As a digital society we must give highest political priority to basic legal protections, improved IT security and strengthening of digital infrastructure.”

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Ireland drops Cyprus from covid-19 “green list”

Ireland on Wednesday downgraded Cyprus from its “green list” that drops a 14-day quarantine requirement for travellers arriving from countries with a low covid-19...

Neil Young sues Donald Trump’s campaign for using his songs

Neil Young sued U.S. President Donald Trump's re-election campaign on Tuesday, accusing it of copyright infringement for playing the rocker's songs without permission. In a...

Ten migrants killed in Alexadroupolis car accident

Greek police οn Wednesday said a car transporting migrants who recently entered the country crashed into roadworks on a highway outside Alexandroupolis, killing ten...

Bank of Cyprus again set to reduce staff-related costs

Bank of Cyprus is set to reduce staff-related costs with changes in salaries and early retirement and part time employment options again on the...

Fine art and face masks: London’s Victoria and Albert Museum reopens

Five thousand years of art and design history will be joined by some more modern items when London's Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum reopens...

Taste

Octopus ‘Kathisto’ (or Octopus braised in Wine)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped fine 1 large octopus, about 2kg (cleaned and kept whole) 3/4 cup dry red wine 1/3 cup...

Homemade lemonade

Ingredients: 1 cup lemon juice 1 cup sugar Method: Thoroughly wash the lemons with soap and warm water. Roll each lemon with the palm of your hand, pressing...

‘Striftaria’ mini cheese pies

Ingredients 1 ½ cup milk 2 tbsps. flour 4 tsps. of butter 3 eggs, slightly beaten + 1 extra with 1 tbs. of milk for spreading 1 pack of...

Mini potato canapes baked on salt

Ingredients Serves: 12 1kg small Cypriot potatoes rock salt, as needed 250g salted butter 300ml full fat cremé frâiche 1 pot cod or salmon roe Method Prep:20min › Cook:35min › Ready in:55min Take...