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Suspect in a massive German data hack was a 20-year-old living with his parents

(Reuters)

One of the biggest data leaks in the German history, in which private information about 900 politicians was published, was committed by a 20-year-old hacker and students living in the home of his parents, authorities said.

The young man, who is not identified in accordance with the privacy regulations, had his apartment searched by the researchers and has no previous convictions, according to the Frankfurt prosecutors’ office.

Officials said he appears to regret his actions.

Authorities say almost 1,000 people were affected by the data breach. In most cases the information disclosed was limited to the basic contact details, but in 60 cases, more extensive personal data published. It was posted via Twitter for Christmas, but only came to most people’s attention on Thursday evening.

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The information turned out to contain information about the members of all parties in the parliament with the exception of those of the extreme right-wing party Alternative for Germany. Journalists, comedians and activists were reportedly also targeted.

Georg Ungefuk, a spokesman of the ministry office, said the suspect told the investigators that “he acted out of annoyance at the statements of the politicians, journalists, and public personalities involved.”

The suspect also allegedly told the authorities that he acted alone.

The 20-year-old hacker was released on Monday for the lack of a legal basis that would justify him in custody as a flight risk.

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According to investigators, the suspect collected publicly available information on the hacking victims – including phone numbers, addresses, credit card details, photos and communication and published material with links that are posted on Twitter accounts, including one with the title “G0d.” That account has been suspended on Friday.

The IT security agency, which has been criticized in the wake of the conflict, has acknowledged that it is contacted by a legislator about suspicious activity on his own e-mail and social media accounts in the beginning of December, but said it believed at the time his experience was a one-off case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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