Germany · Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

German Election: Waiting For Leaks

Assessing online conversations about document dumps

Timeline of tweets posted on the various leak-related hashtags on Twitter, from November 2016 to July 2017.

Hackers already targeted elections in the United States and France. Are they building the infrastructure to attempt the same in Germany?

Germans go to the polls in September to elect a new parliament, the Bundestag. Chancellor Angela Merkel, running for a fourth term, and her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, enjoy a comfortable lead over their main rival, Martin Schulz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Opinion poll from Emnid / Bild am Sonntag, July 23, 2017, showing the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, at 38 percent, well ahead of the SPD, at 25 percent. (Source:

But ahead of the poll, concerns have arisen that hackers may attempt to influence the vote by leaking stolen emails, as in the United States in 2016 and France in 2017.

Hackers are known to have raided Bundestag accounts in 2015, reportedly stealing 16-gigabytes (GB) of data; the CDU was targeted in 2016; at least ten members of parliament were reportedly targeted in March 2017. German intelligence has repeatedly spoken of a hacking campaign “directed from Russia” — also a parallel to the hacks in the United States and France.

Since the emails were stolen, attention turned to the question of where, and how, the emails might be leaked.

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