Campaign Hacked; Parallels Seen to US Attack
May 8, 2017
The campaign of French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron says it
was targeted by a "massive and coordinated" computer hacking operation
on the eve of the final round of voting for the country's next
The large volume of confidential data posted online near midnight Friday
included troves of emails and accounting records from the Macron
campaign. In France and beyond, pundits and analysts said Saturday that
there were clear comparisons to cyberthefts in the United States last
year that targeted the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate
Senior U.S. intelligence officials have since tied the cyberattack
against Clinton to Russian operatives seeking to advance Republican
candidate Donald Trump's chances in the 2016 U.S. election. Russia has
There were no reports of similar intrusions in France against the
campaign of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Voters will choose
between her and Macron, a centrist, in a second-round presidential
ballot on Sunday.
Because of French laws prohibiting any political discussions or
campaigning for a 44-hour period — throughout Saturday and until the
polls close on Sunday evening — no detailed information was available
about how damaging the hacked documents might be. There have been
reports, however, depicting the gigabytes of leaked material as a
combination of both genuine and fake documents.
The French daily Le Monde on Saturday stopped just short of directly
accusing Russia of orchestrating the French hacking, which was the
second known cyberintrusion against Macron's campaign in the past two
months. The newspaper said it had copies of the leaked documents but
would not report on their contents until after the election, since the
data were released "with the clear goal of harming the validity of the
U.S. right-wing activist
Le Monde named an American right-wing activist, Jack Posobiec, as one of
the first people to spread news of the Macron hacks, and said he sent
his 100,000 Twitter followers information about how to locate and
download the Macron campaign files on the online message board 4chan.
The French newspaper said Posobiec played a key role in disseminating
the stolen documents. Attempts to contact Posobiec for comment on Le
Monde's report were unsuccessful.
is the Washington bureau chief of a right-wing news group, The Rebel
Media, and was projects coordinator last year for a grass-roots
organization that supported the Trump campaign.
The Japanese anti-virus firm Trend Micro last month reported on an
earlier Macron campaign intrusion that some analysts identified as the
work of Russia-linked hackers.
Trend Micro did not tie any specific country to the cybertheft it
detected in March, but U.S. spy agencies and private intelligence
analysts have said the suspected perpetrators, known by the code name
APT28, are an arm of Russia's intelligence apparatus.
The 4chan forum that received the stolen Macron documents is frequented
by activists and supporters of extreme right-wing groups, often known as
the alt-right. The British newspaper Guardian described alt-right
members as "lunatic, juvenile ... brilliant, ridiculous and alarming."