Posted on May 6, 2017 at 11:30 AM
Lately, every presidential election gets followed by an incriminating data dump, that most likely has no other purpose but to sabotage one of the candidates. In the case of French elections, the leak appeared with the perfect timing, just early enough so that the public can hear about it, and late enough so that the target doesn’t have the time to respond to it. And because of this, it will have a much bigger impact on the Sunday’s election than the Hillary Clinton leak.
You may have heard of an anonymous publishing website called PasteBin. This Friday, several links to torrent files appeared on it. The files in question are about 9GB of leaked emails belonging to the party of the left-leaning candidate Emmanuel Macron. Macron was the opponent of Marine Le Pen and a more favored one by the public. The question now is whether this will have changed because of the leak.
The opinions on how this will impact the elections are different. Some claim that it changes everything, while the others think that the elections are simply too close for this to be explored, and the truth revealed. French law doesn’t allow public speaking in the last two days before the election, so there’s nothing that the Macron’s party can do except wait and see what will happen. Many see this leak as a strategic attack, mostly because of the timing itself. Whether this is a fabricated or real leak, Macron can’t respond to the scandal, which will probably make the elections several times more intense for everyone.
Good Timing of The Hack
Macron’s party has openly admitted to being compromised by a massive and well-coordinated hacking attack. A lot of data was stolen, and it includes documents, contracts, accounting as well as emails. They’ve admitted that the files were stolen weeks ago, and from several campaign members, which confirms the theory that the hackers were waiting for the best time to publish the files.
Still, just because the hack was admitted, it doesn’t mean that the published content is genuine. They’ve warned about multiple false documents within the published content, whose purpose is to sow disinformation and the doubt in the minds of the voters.
A statement from the security consultant for Errata Security, Rob Graham, claims that the published emails seem not to be completely fake. The collection has a structure of real email archives, he claims. However, nothing is quite sure yet, and caution is suggested.
He also added that “Presumably, someone will start pointing out any salacious emails. You can bet that someone like WikiLeaks will pick these emails apart and post them individually.”
The Pattern Is Familiar
Trend Micro has noted that Macron campaign might be a target of Russian hacker group called Fancy Bear, or sometimes Pawn Storm, or APT 28. It’s discovered that the hackers have created a phishing domain that looked like the cloud data storage website of Macron’s campaign. Back then, in March, the Macron campaign claimed that the attacks have failed.
After attempting to impact the US elections, the cyber security community issued a warning and said that there may be attempts to swing the French and German elections too. Looks like they were right.
Matt Tait, the former British intelligence staffer, has stated that the email dump achieves some objectives, no matter whether it’s legitimate or not. The impacted Macron campaign claims that the operation is trying to destabilize democracy, and they compared the situation with the Clinton campaign hack.
It’s still unclear how this will impact the elections, who’s getting damaged, and how much. Only time will tell, and with the elections being tomorrow, the time is quite short.