German Man Steps Forward, Admits to Hacking Germany’s Politicians

The political drama continues with the German political hack. After finger-pointing and police raids, a man has stepped forward and confessed to the hack.

It may not be the biggest hack out there, but the political fallout is huge. Last week, we brought you news that about a thousand German politicians including Angela Merkel had various accounts hacked. While it is generally one of a number of hacks happening right now, the political ramifications wound up dominating the story as other sources wound up confusing hack size and political fallout.

With so many politicians becoming victims of the hack, the German cyber security agency, the BSI, found themselves on the defense. They said that they received a report of suspicious activity from one politician, but had no way of connecting it to other politicians until the whole data set was posted.

While accusations were flying over whether the security establishment took security seriously or not, German police moved in on a citizen who claimed he knew the hacker in question. In response, the teenagers house was raided and the teenager was questioned.

As the story gripped Germany’s attention, a new development has now emerged. A man has now stepped forward claiming to be Orbit, the hacker who was behind the hack. The German citizen turned himself over to police and confessed that he was behind it all. From TechRadar:

A 20-year-old man has admitted to police that he was behind the recent data breach that exposed the personal data and documents of almost 1,000 German politicians and public figures online.

The man responsible for the breach said he acted alone and that his actions were not politically motivated. He is still in the education system and lives with his parents in the central German state of Hesse.

The hacker went by the pseudonyms “G0T” and “Orbit” and investigators were able to discover his identity by following his digital tracks online including his communications with a 19-year-old man using an encrypted messaging service.

He is accused of spying, leaking data and the unwarranted publication of personal data which could warrant a three-year prison sentence but due to his age it is likely he’ll instead be sent to a young offenders’ institute.

The fact that the hack wasn’t even politically motivated will likely redraw the analytical calculus for some observers. Some often jump to the conclusion of international espionage where state actors are after political unrest. With this admission, it paints a very different picture in that it almost looks like someone who was bored one day decided to utilize his technical skills to hack the political system just for fun.

Some people might look at this story and say that if this person is skilled enough to hack the entire political system, that person would actually be a fantastic candidate to plugging security holes and bolstering online security. A few might even read into this as a great example of how some people’s skills are being under-utilized. Unfortunately, as the above source indicates, he’s more likely to spend some of his time in prison first before that could even have a chance to happen.

At any rate, even though the perpetrator has allegedly come forward and confessed, the fallout is likely to continue for some time. How can someone successfully hack a vast majority of the political figures in the country? What security lapses took place? How can one prevent something like this from happening again? Can the international community come together and formulate solutions for something like this? All these questions and more are likely to permeate the political landscape for some time to come.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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