German data hack ‘a wake-up call’ for Irish politicians

German data hack ‘a wake-up call’ for Irish politicians

The hacking of hundreds of German politicians’ data, including that of chancellor Angela Merkel, should be a wake-up call for Irish public representatives to better protect their most sensitive records, a cybersecurity expert has said.

Chief executive of cybersecurity firm Smarttech247, Ronan Murphy said cyber warfare was a new front in the attempt to influence political agendas using ‘low-hanging fruit’ like public representatives.

The public dumping of the politicians’ data is said to be the biggest of its kind in Germany’s history, and is believed to include email addresses, mobile phone numbers, photos of identification cards and personal chat transcripts. The hackers got the passwords to Facebook accounts and Twitter profiles and worked their way up from there, said political scientist at Munich’s Technical University, Simon Hegelich.

Mr Murphy said it is naive to think Ireland was immune to hacking ahead of the local and European elections in May. “We have seen it with the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump that rogue agents have been able to manipulate the political process. We are seeing a big increase in cyber hackers attempting to subvert the global political system.

“It may seem unlikely, but we have had contentious political campaigns here. It is entirely possible that Ireland could be targeted with Brexit and other issues to the fore,” he said.

Hotel company Marriott now estimates 383m customers, which may include that of thousands of Irish people, had their data exposed to unauthorised parties in a breach of its Starwood system the firm first revealed in November.

Additional reporting Bloomberg

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