Macron condemns 'massive' Hacking Attack

The campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says it has been the target of a "massive hacking attack" after a trove of documents was released online.

The campaign said that genuine files were mixed up with fake ones in order to confuse people. It said it was clear that hackers wanted to undermine Mr Macron ahead of the second round vote.The centrist will face off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

The documents were leaked on a file sharing website late and the Macron camp condemned the action just before the official campaigning period ended at midnight on May 5th.

Candidates and the media now face restrictions until the polls close on Sunday evening, meaning Mr Macron cannot issue further statements. 

Opinion polls had indicated the former economy minister carried a lead of 20 percentage points or more over Ms. Le Pen.

What was released?

About nine gigabytes of data were posted online by an anonymous user.

Mr Macron's En Marche movement said internal campaign documents, including emails and financial data, had been taken in an "act of massive, co-ordinated hacking".
"The leaked files were obtained several weeks ago by hacking personal and professional email accounts of several officials of the movement," it said in a statement. The campaign said the documents showed only legitimate campaign activities.
France's election authorities have warned media outlets against reporting on the contents of the leaked documents because of the restrictions now in place.

Who might be responsible?

That too remains unclear. The Macron camp has not blamed any specific party but said the hack clearly aimed to damage it and undermine French democracy,
It compared it to the leak of Democratic Party emails in last year's US presidential election that was blamed on Russian hackers. Wikileaks, which published those emails, posted a link to the Macron documents on Twitter but implied it was not responsible.

It's not the first time Macron's been targeted. Mr Macron's team has already been the victim of hacking attacks, for which it has blamed groups based in Russia and Ukraine. It suspects the Kremlin of wanting to help Ms. Le Pen, who supports a pro-Moscow foreign policy.

  • Macron campaign servers went down for several minutes in February after attacks apparently originating in Ukraine.
  • Security experts from the company Trend Micro said that Russian hackers were targeting Mr Macron's campaign, using phishing emails, malware and fake net domains in an attempt to grab login names, passwords and other credentials of campaign staff.

Russia has denied that it is behind attacks aimed at Mr Macron.

On May 4th, the centrist candidate filed a lawsuit over online rumours that he had a secret bank account in the Caribbean.
Mr Macron called the allegations "fake news and lies" and said some of the sites spreading them were "linked to Russian interests".

BBC

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