Digital Privacy Industry News

Hacker Charged in Germany for Stealing and Leaking Private Data of Public Figures and Politicians

A 22-year old accused of publishing private data on multiple public figures in Germany, including politicians, has been charged with various computer crimes and other infractions.

The hacker is accused of attacks affecting around 1,000 people, stealing personal information and using it either to hurt victims by releasing it online or by using it in blackmail attempts.

Many of these victims were compromised simply by using the reset password feature for email accounts, which was possible in situations where two-factor authentication wasn’t present. He also used credentials found or acquired over the dark web, from a website shuttered by US authorities in January 2020.

The charges levied by German authorities cover just 78 victims of the entire 1,000+ pool of affected people. The man is accused of gathering phone numbers, credit card data, photos, and communications with other people.

In the case of six German MPs, the hackers used the gathered data in blackmail attempts, trying to extort around €900, in bitcoin, threatening with the release of the data.

Some of the data collected was eventually released between Dec. 1 and Dec. 24, 2018, on his personal Twitter account, but also over the account of a YouTube celebrity that also fell prey to his attacks.

The hacker allegedly didn’t stop at stealing private data. He also is accused of calling in a number of false bomb threats and mass shootings, and even manage to have a few people investigated by the German Police by using false crime reports.

The motivations remain unclear, as he only said that he was annoyed by some of his victim’s public statements and simply wanted revenge, according to a The Local DE report.

About the author

Silviu STAHIE

Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between. He's passionate about security and the way it shapes the world, in all aspects of life. He's also a space geek, enjoying all the exciting new things the Universe has to offer.