Emmanuel Macron’s French Presidential Campaign Hacked

The front-runner in France’s presidential race, Emmanuel Macron, has been the victim of a “massive and coordinated hacking operation,” his campaign team said, slamming the attack as a last-ditch attempt to undermine the candidate’s lead.

The document dump happened Friday night, less than 48 hours before the country votes in the final round of the presidential election, which pits the independent centrist Macron against the far-right Marine Le Pen.

The files were released just before 2 p.m. ET Friday, around four hours before the election campaign period officially closed with its restrictions on campaigning, reporting and polling. These restrictions are aimed at preventing last-minute scandals from emerging and influencing the election’s outcome.

Around 14.5 gigabytes of emails, personal and business documents were posted to the text-sharing site Pastebin through links to more than 70,000 files, a CNN look at the data shows.

Officials from Macron’s En Marche! party said in a statement that the perpetrators of the hack had mixed fake documents with authentic ones “to create confusion and misinformation.”

“The leak happened in the last hours of the campaign. This operation is clearly meant to undermine democracy, just like what happened in the US during the last presidential campaign,” the statement read.

US intelligence officials have said Russia meddled in the November elections, and Congress is investigating the allegations. Russia has denied any interference.

En Marche! said that some of the files circulating were obtained several weeks ago after personal and professional email accounts were hacked.

It was not clear who was behind the document dump, but the hack targeting Macron’s campaign used methods similar to the suspected Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee last year in United States, according to a report issued in April by cybersecurity researchers.

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SOURCE: CNN, Steve Almasy