ECB boss Christine Lagarde has successfully fended off a hacker attack on her Whatsapp account. The scammers had contacted Lagarde using Angela Merkel’s cell phone number. They wanted explosive data. But Lagarde simply called Merkel.
Europe’s economic and political elite has apparently been targeted by hackers. As “Business Insider” unanimously learned from German government circles, strangers have been trying to take over celebrity accounts on Whatsapp and other messenger services for weeks.
Prominent victims of the cyber attacks: Ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank. Both women are known to have a long-standing friendship. The perfidious scam used by the attackers: Lagarde was contacted by SMS using what appeared to be Merkel’s real cell phone number. The Frenchwoman was led to believe that Merkel wanted to continue communicating on Whatsapp, since messages there are end-to-end encrypted and the conversation would be more secure. According to information from Business Insider, however, to be on the safe side, Lagarde asked the former chancellor whether she really wanted to communicate via Whatsapp – so the scam was exposed.
It is still unclear where the attackers got Merkel’s real number. The police authorities are now also investigating the case. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) are also involved. In the meantime, both authorities have issued a five-page letter warning the members of the Bundestag against such a social engineering campaign.
Without naming names, it also describes what the goal was in the Merkel case: They wanted to use the Chancellor’s identity to obtain the authentication code of Lagarde’s existing or new messenger service account. This is actually used to verify the link between the personal account and the cell phone number. By sharing the code, the strangers could have taken over Lagarde’s account.