The campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was targeted by a “massive and coordinated hack,” according to a statement from the campaign late Friday. A large collection totaling nine gigabytes of emails purportedly from the campaign was posted online less than two days before the country’s election in which Macron faces off against Marine Le Pen.
Macron, who has accused Russia of cyberattacks against his campaign in the past, was targeted this year by the hacking group Fancy Bear, according to the cybersecurity firm Trend Micro. Fancy Bear has widely been linked to Russian intelligence operations and is one of the groups that hacked into U.S. political institutions including the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016.
Macron’s political movement En Marche! (Onwards!) confirmed that it had been hacked, according to Reuters.
“The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and coordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information,” the statement said, adding that the documents posted online include both real and fake emails “with the goal of sowing doubt and disinformation.”
Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the United States, said the action was “to be expected. Last ditch offensive for a candidate preferred by a foreign government.”
It’s not clear at this point who posted the so-called “EMLEAKS” on Friday.
The timing of the leak is interesting because French law forbids commentary on campaigning too close to the vote. The Macron comment came within just minutes before silence is legally enforced.
The ban on campaigning is now underway and will remain in effect until after polls close Sunday night at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern Time). Macron has a decisive lead over Le Pen heading into Sunday’s vote according to polls.