Hundreds of German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have fallen victim to a massive online leak of private data, the government said on Friday.
“Personal data and documents belonging to hundreds of politicians and public figures were published on the internet,” government spokeswoman Martina Fietz told reporters.
“The government is taking this incident very seriously.”
She said that the political officials included members of the Bundestag lower house of parliament, the European Parliament as well as regional and local assemblies.
Deputies from all parties represented in the Bundestag were affected, she added.
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 comprised personal addresses, mobile phone numbers, letters, invoices and copies of identity documents, was published online via Twitter in December but inexplicably only came to light this week.
Beyond politicians, who also included President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, celebrities and journalists were also targeted.
The daily Bild and public broadcaster RBB first reported the leak.
Bild said that the theft of the data continued until the end of October but it was not clear when it started.
“At first glance it does not seem that politically sensitive material was included,” RBB said.
“However the damage is likely to be massive given the volume of personal data published.”
Given the vast range of data hoovered up, RBB said that it seemed unlikely that it was taken from a single source.
Parliamentary group leaders were notified of the attack on late Thursday and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the domestic intelligence service said that they were investigating.
“According to our current information, government networks have not been targeted,” BSI tweeted.
The Russian government at the time denied that Russian hackers were involved.