UPDATE 4-German politicians' data published online in massive breach
If the data release does stem from a hack, it would be the latest in a number of hi-tech assaults on political institutions and key individuals in Germany.
Last year, lawmakers said a powerful cyber attack breached the foreign ministry's computer network.
Public broadcaster rbb, which broke the story, said the identity of the hackers and their motive were not known.
Government spokeswoman Martina Fietz confirmed personal data and documents "belonging to hundreds of politicians and public figures" had been released online.
German media said a fax number and two email addresses used by Merkel had been published. "The information and data drained from the chancellery and that relate to the chancellor are managable," Fietz told a news conference.
A defence ministry spokesman said the armed forces were not affected, and broadcaster ARD - affiliated to rbb - said its journalists had as yet detected no incriminating content.
'ALARMING... BUT NOT SURPRISING'
"...It highlights the need for the government to take cyber security very seriously."
Security officials have blamed most previous attacks on a Russian hacking group APT28 that experts say has close ties to a Russian spy agency. Experts held the same group responsible for an attack ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Bild newspaper reported that German authorities had asked the U.S. spy agency NSA for help in investigating the incident.
The mass-selling daily also said the secure internal network of Germany's government was not hit by the hackers, citing sources inside the BSI.
The BSI said all but one of the seven parties in the Bundestag lower house were affected. German media said that party was the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Broadcaster rbb reported earlier that the data, from hundreds of politicians and published on a Twitter account, included addresses, personal letters and copies of identity cards.
"Whoever is responsible, wants to intimidate politicians. That will not succeed," said Lars Klingbeil, secretary general of the centre-left Social Democrats, Merkel's coalition partner. (Additional reporting by Jack Stubbs; writing by Paul Carrel and Joseph Nasr, editing by John Stonestreet)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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