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.

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