German data breach: agencies ‘failing to take security seriously’

The German government and security agencies have been accused of not taking internet security seriously, following a huge data breach that affected hundreds of politicians and celebrities.

Joachim Herrmann, interior minister for the southern state of Bavaria, said he was appalled at the way the federal government and information security agency, the BSI, was handling the scandal, the biggest data leak in German history, after it was revealed it had dismissed a breach in December as one-off incident.

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German data breach prompts calls for improved online security
German government officials called on Monday for a tightening of data security laws after a far-reaching breach exposed the documents of hundreds of politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Witness’ apartment searched in Germany hacking case
German investigators have searched the apartment of a witness in their probe of an alleged hacking case that saw hundreds of politicians’ and celebrities’ private information posted online, officials said Monday.

The Federal Criminal Police Office tweeted that the search took place in Heilbronn in southwestern Germany on Sunday, but didn’t give further details.

German Man Confesses to Hacking Politicians’ Data, Officials Say
A 20-year-old German student took advantage of passwords as weak as “Iloveyou” and “1234” to hack into online accounts of hundreds of lawmakers and personalities whose political stances he disliked, officials revealed Tuesday, shaking Berlin’s political establishment and raising questions about data security in Europe’s leading economy.

Working from his computer in his parents’ home, the young man used relatively simple techniques to hack into successive accounts, the authorities said. There, he stole the users’ personal information and published it through Twitter over the course of December.

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Should cyber officials be required to tell victims of cyber crimes they’ve been hacked?
In Germany this week, the legal limbo that defines cyberspace around the world was on full display. The country’s Federal Office for IT Safety (BSI for its German initials) had been tracking a cyber attack targeting some of the country’s parliamentarians since early December. It ultimately led to the public release of mobile phone numbers, credit card information and ID card details of hundreds of members of parliament, and other public figures.

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