Emails & docs from France's Macron campaign leaked after 'massive' hacking attack
- Author: Leroy Wright May 07, 2017,
May 07, 2017, 0:08
France's election campaign commission says "a significant amount of data" has been leaked on social networks following a hacking attack allegedly suffered by centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, 36 hours before the nation votes Sunday in the crucial runoff against Marine Le Pen.
On Friday evening, a profile called EMLEAKS posted a nine-gigabyte leak to Pastebin, a web application where users can store plain text.
Macron's political movement said the unidentified hackers accessed staffers' personal and professional emails and leaked campaign finance material and contracts - as well as fake decoy documents - online.
France's presidential election commission said it would meet Saturday to discuss the hack and the publishing of the data.
Aides have alleged those behind the cyberattack were attempting to destabilise Sunday's final round between Mr Macron and far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
Opinion polls show independent centrist Macron winning with about 62 percent of the vote, Reuters reported.
A report by a cybersecurity firm published April 24 had said that Macron had been targeted by what appeared to be the same Russian operatives responsible for hacks of Democratic campaign officials before last year's USA presidential election.
The WikiLeaks website posted a Twitter link to the cache of documents, saying it "contains many tens of thousands (of) emails, photos, attachments up to April 24, 2017".
The Kremlin has denied it was behind any such attacks, even though Macron's camp renewed complaints against Russian media and a hackers' group operating in Ukraine.
The clear intent of the hack, En Marche said, was "democratic destabilization".
The emails were released just minutes before the start of France's campaign blackout, which forbids candidates from speaking publicly until voting is complete. He cited similarities with USA election hacks that have been previously attributed to that group.
Officials from Macron's En Marche! party said in a statement that the perpetrators of the hack had mixed fake documents with authentic ones "to create confusion and misinformation". Similar techniques were also used to target German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party in April and May a year ago, researchers said.
US alt-right media promoted the hashtag and story overnight, alleging the documents show an offshore bank account, tax evasion as well as possible drug use.
"Fully analyzing the hacked documents to verify that they are genuine will take some time, but from what I've seen so far, it looks very serious", said Matt Tait, a former information security specialist for the GCHQ (the United Kingdom's equivalent of the National Security Agency) and CEO of Capital Alpha Security.
Le Pen would close borders and quit the euro currency, while Macron wants closer European cooperation and an open economy.
This isn't the first time Macron's campaign has said it was the target of hacks.
Macron's campaign has previously accused Russian Federation of attempting to hack its computer systems during the campaign and using fake news to interfere in the French election.