What we know about the massive computer hack against French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron

Thousands of documents were released online Friday night targeting French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, less than two days before the second round of the voting.

On Sunday, centrist Macron will run against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, a contest in which Macron is favoured to win.

Here’s what we know so far:

When did the hack occur?

Macron’s campaign confirmed on Friday night that it had been the target of a “massive” computer hack.

The files, which include contracts, accounting documents, and emails, were obtained “several weeks ago” from the “personal and professional mailboxes of several party officials,” according to a statement from Macron’s En Marche! party.

What was released online?

Around nine gigabytes of data were shared by an anonymous user online on Friday.

WikiLeaks, which said it was not responsible for the leak itself, posted a link on Twitter to the documents, saying it “contains many tens of thousands (of) emails, photos, attachments up to April 24, 2017.”

Macron’s campaign said in a statement that all the files were lawful, but said that false documents were being mixed in with authentic documents.

Why can’t officials comment on the hack?

Officials declined to comment on the matter due to French election “blackout” rules that prohibit disseminating information that might influence an election.

The blackout went into effect at midnight on Friday, local time, and will stay in place until the last polling stations close on Sunday at 8 p.m. local time (7 p.m. GMT).

A spokesman for the French ministry said: “Neither the ministry, nor any other ministry would be commenting on this because according to the law, campaigning has ended as of midnight.”

Who is responsible for the hack?

The campaign has not said who is responsible, but immediate suspicion has fallen on Russia, according to The Telegraph. However, Russia has denied it’s behind the attack on Macron, the BBC reports.

The campaign also made a link to what happened to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the 2016 US presidential election. Emails of Clinton’s campaign staffers were leaked in the lead up to Election Day.

In January, US intelligence said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic campaign to influence the election on behalf of Donald Trump.

What’s next?

The French election campaign commission will hold a meeting on Saturday morning to discuss the leaks, The Telegraph reports.

Meanwhile, Macron’s campaign has asked the media to responsibly cover the hack and to avoid reporting on the documents.

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