Hackers released a huge cache of emails belonging to French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron less than 48 hours before voters are set to head to the polls in the country’s contentious election.
On Sunday, the country will choose between Macron, a centrist who is currently leading in the polls, and Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist who boasts the support of both U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The emails were released just minutes before the start of France’s campaign blackout, which forbids candidates from speaking publicly until voting is complete.
Macron’s campaign did have time to confirm the “massive and coordinated” hack, saying in a statement that the files were stolen sometime in the last few weeks from personal and business email accounts used by members of Macron’s party, En Marche! The cache, which was posted to Pastebin by a user named EMLEAKS, reportedly contains about nine gigabytes of data.
The campaign says the hackers mixed fake documents in with real content “with the goal of sowing doubt and disinformation.”
Cybersecurity researchers said in late March that they had noticed a coordinated phishing campaign employed against members of Macron’s campaign — a campaign that appeared to be the work of the same Russians who hacked the Democratic National Committee in the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Hackers sent emails to En Marche! personnel with links to web pages that closely mimicked email login pages, allowing hackers to steal passwords.
“The phishing pages we are talking about are very personalized web pages to look like the real address,” Macron’s digital director, Mounir Mahjoubi, told the Times. “They were pixel-perfect.”