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Disgruntled Man Behind German Cyber-Attack

Citing annoyance at government officials as his motive, a 20-year-old man has confessed to be the hacker responsible for releasing private information on hundreds of politicians in Germany, according to Reuters.

The news comes one day after investigators at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden, Germany, reportedly searched the home of a 19-year-old man believed to have been connected with the suspected hacker who admitted he exposed the personal data of several German politicians.

On the evening of 6 January 2019, the BKA searched the suspect’s home in Central Hesse as part of its investigation on the suspicion of spying and the unauthorized disclosure of personal data of politicians, journalists and public figures, according to a BKA statement. The suspect was provisionally arrested but released due to a lack of evidence.

*UPDATE* Infosecurity Magazine contacted the BKA to clarify whether the suspect is currently under arrest and being detained. A spokesperson for BKA wrote, "The accused person is not in custody, but has confirmed its crimes. He will face a legal procedure which might end up in custody. In Germany, as well as in other solid constitutional states, pre-trial detention is subject to strict guidelines, which are taking the individual circumstances into account. Circumstances in this case are (amongst others), that the accused person has confirmed his crimes and therefore there is no flight risk is to expect. Furthermore, limits for pre-trial detention are in this case even higher, since the 20 year old man is subject to juvenile criminal law."

“During the interrogation, the defendant stated that he had acted alone in the data spying and unauthorized data releases. The investigations have so far revealed no evidence of third-party participation. 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 statement said.

Through its preliminary investigation, the BKA learned that the suspect reportedly used a hijacked Twitter account and accessed his internet connections through a VPN service for anonymization. Investigators seized the suspects computers and data carriers, which are being fully evaluated.

“According to the accused, a computer that he had set aside two days before the search and a data backup from a share-hosting service could be found and secured,” the statement said.

[Updated January 9, 2019 to include comment from BKA]

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