On Friday, Emmanuel Macron’s campaign said that it has been a target of a “massive” computer hack that revealed its emails less than two days before the French election.
Some nine gigabytes of data were posted by a user called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a document-sharing site that allows anonymous posting. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data or if any of them were genuine, Reuters reports.
Macron’s political movement, En Marche! (Onwards!), confirmed the hacks in a statement released on Friday.
“The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information,” the statement said.
An interior ministry official declined to comment. French election rules which forbid any commentary liable to influence an election, which took effect at midnight French time on Friday (2200 GMT).
Reports about the exposed emails began to appear on Friday evening just hours before the official ban on campaigning began. The ban is due to stay in place until the last polling stations close on Sunday at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).
Macron’s campaign has shown concern over attempts to breach the French candidate’s emails in the past, blaming Russia for the cyber attacks. On April 26, the team said it had been the target of multiple attempts to steal email credentials since January, but that the perpetrators had so far failed to retrieve any campaign information.
In its statement on Friday, En Marche! said that the documents that were released online showed only the normal functioning of a presidential campaign, but that authentic documents had been mixed on social media with fake ones to sow “doubt and misinformation”.
“The seriousness of this event is certain and we shall not tolerate that the vital interests of democracy be put at risk,” it added.
The French presidential election campaign is not the first to be plagued by accusations of Russian influence via computer hacking and cyber-attacks.
U.S. intelligence agencies said in January that they believe Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic campaign in order to influence the election in favor of now-President Donald Trump.