2 min Security

20-year-old student confesses to hacking German politicians and journalists

20-year-old student confesses to hacking German politicians and journalists

A 20-year-old student has confessed to being guilty of one of the biggest data breaches in Germany, reports Reuters. In that attack, hundreds of German politicians – including Chancellor Angela Merkel – were hacked into journalists and other well-known people.

The police have not indicated who the student is. It is known that he still lives with his parents, is not a computer expert and has not been convicted before. The student was able to access the personal data and documents of about a thousand people. The student was arrested after the police searched a house in the state of Hesse. Investigators seized a computer that the defendant had removed two days earlier, as well as a backup of data.

The student has now been released and is cooperating with the researchers. “The defendant has admitted that he only acted when spying on data and the unauthorised publication of data”, according to the authorities. “The investigation has so far provided no evidence of cooperation with a third party.”

Other suspects

Earlier it was thought that Russian hackers were behind the attack. The Kremlin denied this. There was also speculation that the extreme right was behind the attack. The prosecutors now refused to respond to any political sympathies of the accused, but said that no radical material had been found. “The accused said that his motivation concerned annoyances about public statements by the politicians, journalists and public figures”, according to prosecutor Georg Ungefuk.

According to Ungefuk, the accused, who can be sentenced to a maximum of six years’ imprisonment, was unaware of the consequences of his actions. As a result of the hack, there are now calls for stricter rules on data protection. This is also linked to the threat posed by Steve Bannon, former chief strategist of US President Donald Trump, who said that he would use the European Parliament elections to undermine the EU.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.