Friday 21 July 2017

Hackers post huge cache of Macron emails online

Emmanuel Macron Picture: Reuters
Emmanuel Macron Picture: Reuters

A large trove of emails from the campaign of candidate Emmanuel Macron was posted online last night, less than 36 hours before French voters go to the polls tomorrow to choose their next president in a run-off against rival Marine Le Pen.

Some nine gigabytes of data were posted by a user called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a document-sharing site that allows anonymous posting. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data.

In a statement, Macron's political movement En Marche! confirmed that it had been hacked. "The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information," it said.

An interior ministry official declined to comment, citing French rules which forbid any commentary liable to influence an election, and which took effect at midnight French time.

Comments about the email dump began to appear yesterday evening just hours before the official ban on campaigning began. The ban is due to stay in place until the last polling stations close tomorrow at 8pm.

Macron's team has already complained about attempts to hack its systems during a fraught campaign, blaming Russian interests in part for the cyber attacks. On April 26, the team said it had been the target of a series of attempts to steal email credentials since January, but that the perpetrators had so far failed to compromise any campaign data.

In February the Kremlin denied that it was behind any such attacks, even though Macron's camp renewed the charges against Russian media and a hackers' group operating in Ukraine.

Last night, En Marche! said that the documents released online only showed the normal functioning of a presidential campaign, but that authentic documents had been mixed on social media with fake ones to sow "doubt and misinformation".

"The seriousness of this event is certain and we shall not tolerate that the vital interests of democracy be put at risk," it added.

Irish Independent

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