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German hacker confesses to stealing data on Merkel, other politicians

Authorities say he acted without "third-party participation."

Norman Foster's Dome Of The Reichstag Building At Night, Berlin, Germany
The hack affected politicians who meet inside Germany's Reichstag, which is topped by this dome.
Insights/UIG via Getty Images

A 20-year-old German confessed to hacking hundreds of politicians' personal data, authorities said Tuesday.

He was arrested Sunday after police searched his home but was released after confessing to last month's cyberattack because they don't consider him a flight risk.

In addition to hacking politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he is suspected of stealing data about journalists and other public figures.

"During the interrogation, the defendant stated that he had acted alone in the data spying and unauthorized data releases," the Federal Criminal Police Office said. "The investigations have so far revealed no evidence of third-party participation."

The man was motivated by "annoyance" over the victims' public statements, according to police, and published the information throughout December using the Twitter account @_0rbit. Twitter suspended that account Friday.

Most of the data posted was limited to basic contact details like email addresses and phone numbers, but some bank account details, bills, personal photos and chats were published, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The only political party to avoid the hacker completely was the far-right Alternative for Germany.

The hacker is still in high school and lives with his parents in the western German state of Hesse, according to the Journal, which noted that he's unlikely to face prison since he's considered a minor until he turns 21. His name wasn't released.