Breach, Threat Management, Data Security

20-year-old allegedly admits to breach targeting high-profile Germans

German law enforcement officials today announced the arrest of a 20-year-old man who allegedly admitted to leaking stolen personal data belonging to the country's various public figures.

A press release jointly issued by the Federal Criminal Police Office and the cybercrime unit of the Frankfurt Attorney General's Office has identified the arrested party as a citizen and resident of the state Central Hesse. Officials did not provide the individual's real name, but said he uses the computer aliases "G0d" and "0rbit."

According to officials, investigators arrested 0rbit and searched his home on Sunday, Jan. 6. They interrogated him the following day, at which time the man allegedly acknowledged his crimes, including stealing data belonging to German politicians, journalists and celebrities and publishing it via Twitter accounts. At least one of these Twitter accounts was hijacked from its rightful owner.

"To his motivation, the defendant stated that he acted out of annoyance over public statements made by the politicians, journalists and public figures concerned," the press release states, further asserting that 0rbit attempted to hide his activity using a VPN service.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greens leader Robert Habeck, TV satirist Jan Böhmermann, rapper Marteria, the rap group K.I.Z. and main parliamentary groups including the ruling center-right and center-left parties, as well as The Greens, left-wing Die Linke and FDP were among those targeted in the breach, according to the BBC. Stolen information included telephone numbers, addresses, credit card data, image recordings and communications.

Officials noted that 0rbit said he acted alone. There had been early speculation was Russian threat actors or domestic right-wingers could have been responsible.

The release said 0rbit was released on Jan. 7 due to lack of grounds for detention.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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