Email dump hits French candidate Macron ahead of election

An alleged 9GB trove of stolen emails and photos from Macron campaign staffers has been exposed online

Another political campaign has been hit by an email dump. This time, the target is French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

On Friday, his campaign said a massive and coordinated hack had breached the email inboxes of several staffers. This came after a mysterious user named “EMLEAKS” apparently dumped the stolen data through torrent files on text storage site Pastebin.

It’s unclear if the information in the dump is genuine. Allegedly, the dump contains a 9GB trove of emails and photos. The torrent files, which were hosted on Archive.org, are no longer available there.

But Macron’s campaign said the leaked files have been spreading over social media as the country prepares to vote for a new president on Sunday.

The incident occurred just months after hackers targeted the campaign of U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by stealing staffers’ emails and then leaking them online.

The U.S. has blamed those hacks on Russian state-sponsored cyberspies, claiming they were tasked with damaging Clinton’s election chances.

Who was behind the Macron hack is still unknown. However, last month security firm Trend Micro said it uncovered evidence that Russian cyberspies were also targeting Macron’s campaign, possibly through email phishing attempts designed to trick users into visiting malicious internet links.

The cyberspies did so by registering several internet addresses that spoofed Macron’s campaign site. One of those internet addresses was named onedrive-en-marche.fr, which appears similar to the campaign’s official domain at en-marche.fr.

Reportedly, Macron’s campaign confirmed the intrusion attempts last week but said they hadn't succeeded.

On Friday, Macron’s campaign said the hacking and leaking of files were designed to destabilize France’s democratic processes.

The U.S. government has claimed Russia plans to interfere with European elections this year, but the Kremlin has denied sponsoring such hacks.

Both the FBI and the U.S. National Security Agency have been working with their counterparts in Europe to help stop similar election-tampering efforts allegedly from Russia. If the hack reported Friday was real, those efforts may have fallen short.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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