Personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures have been published online, the country’s government said on Friday, adding that no sensitive material from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office was released.
An Interior Ministry spokesman declined to confirm that the data breach, which triggered an emergency meeting of Germany’s national cyber defence body, was the result of a hack but, according to Bild newspaper, German authorities have asked the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) for help with investigations.
German media reported earlier that hackers had posted data, including credit card details and mobile phone numbers, with politicians from all major parties affected apart from the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD).
A number of celebrities outside the political sphere have also been affected, as well as journalists and musicians.
“Personal data and documents belonging to hundreds of politicians and public figures have been published online,” government spokeswoman Martina Fietz told a news conference, adding that politicians at the federal, state and European level had been affected.
Judging by an initial review, no sensitive information from the chancellery had been published, “and this includes [from] the chancellor,” she said.
However, Merkel’s fax number, email address and several letters to and from her were among the leaked data.
German public broadcaster ARD, which broke the story, said its journalists had so far not detected any incriminating content.
A defence ministry spokesman said the armed forces had not been affected by the breach.
“Whoever is behind this wants to damage faith in our democracy and its institutions,” Justice Minister Katarina Barley said in a statement.