A statement released by France’s election campaign commission revealed that a significant amount of data and some fake information has been leaked on social networks following a hacking attack on centrist Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign.
The commission urged citizens not to relay the data on social media to protect the integrity of the French vote. A government official also released a statement saying that the government’s cybersecurity agency will investigate the attack.
The serious breach was conducted 36 hours before the nation votes Sunday in a crucial presidential runoff between Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and just as a two-day blackout on campaigning began so that voters could reflect on their choice.
Several embassies abroad and other overseas territories conducted the voting process on Saturday. However, the documents that were leaked appear to be largely mundane, even though the perpetrators remain unknown. The crucial question remains whether the breach will dent Macron’s large polling lead over Le Pen going into the vote.
Following the emergence of the leaks on Friday, the election commission met on Saturday. A statement from the commission revealed that the leaked data apparently originated from Macron’s information systems and mail accounts from some of his campaign managers. The statement also said that the leaked data had been fraudulently obtained and that fake news was probably mingled in with it.
The campaign oversight commission was urged by Macron’s team to bring in cyber security agency ANSSI to study the hack. ANSSI can only be called in for cases where the cyber attack is massive and sophisticated and the Macron hack appears to be ideal for the agency.
Macron’s team confirmed that it had been hit by a massive and coordinated hack some weeks ago. Reports indicate that staffers’ personal and professional emails were leaked including campaign finance material and contracts as well as fake documents. The hacking announcement came just 10 days after the campaign’s digital chief, Mounir Mahjoubi, said it had been targeted by Russia-linked hackers.