German politicians, celebs and rappers amongst victims of giant email hack

The German Reichstag building which houses the Bundestag parliament

The German political establishment is reeling after personal data and communications from hundreds of politicians including Chancellor Angela Merkel were released by hackers.

But Fietz said that a preliminary investigation indicated that "no sensitive information or data" from Merkel's office had been leaked.

The stolen data, which comprises personal addresses, mobile phone numbers, letters, invoices and copies of identity documents, was published online via Twitter in December previous year.

German politicians' private data has been leaked on Twitter, the media are reporting this Friday morning.

Politicians from the far-left Linke party were among those affected, including Dietmar Bartsch, leader of its group in the lower parliamentary house, a spokesman said. The Twitter account describes itself with labels such as security research, artist and satire.

Germany's Justice Minister Katarina Barley said she believes that the attack set out to "damage confidence in our democracy and institutions". And a year ago the government's IT network came under attack amid reports that Russian hackers were also to blame. "Sources have said that past hacks had Russian links".

A cyber analyst told the BBC there was speculation that hackers might have exploited weaknesses in email software to get hold of passwords that those targeted had also used on social media accounts.

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A glut of celebrities and journalists, as well as the German government, have been affected, with the BBC noting that representatives of the far-right party, the AfD, were not targeted.

"It's clear that this is the worst data breach in the series of data breaches the German government has experienced over the past several years", Sudha David Wilp, deputy director of the German Marshall Fund's Berlin office, told Newsweek about the recent hack.

The authenticity of the leaked data could not be immediately verified and no discernible pattern could be detected to the leaked documents.

Security officials have blamed most previous breaches of data security on a Russian hacking group, while the Kremlin has consistently denied involvement in such incidents.

Though the Twitter account was suspended, the hacker provided multiple back-up links for people to download the breached files.

The Rheinische Post newspaper said in its online edition that Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier were also victims of the leaks.

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