Cyber Security

Infamous U.S. Nazi Hacker Tied To Fake France Election Scandal

Is Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer behind an effort to manufacture controversy around Emmanuel Macron?

Cyber Security
Photo Illustration: Vocativ
May 16, 2017 at 6:28 PM ET

A group of researchers say that an anonymous effort to help the far-right Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election — by forging documents to smear her opponent — bears hallmarks of the U.S.’s most infamous neo-Nazi hacker.

Researchers VirtualRoad.org, a hosting provider for embattled human rights organizations that also studies cyberattacks, stop short of declaring him guilty. But they say there is substantial evidence that Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, system administrator for neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, created a website to host “Macron leaks,” named for presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. Macron handily beat Le Pen, a wild favorite of American white supremacists, on May 7.

“We have strong confidence that the ‘fake offshore documents’ known as #MacronGate are connected with Daily Stormer,” VirtualRoad systems architect Tord Lundstrom told Vocativ.

The site was first teased on the anonymous message board 4Chan in threads where an anonymous user uploaded faked documents that purported to show a nonexistent offsite Macron bank account in the Bahamas.

One user, thought to be weev, touted an upcoming site to host the documents: “nouveaumartel.com,” which isn’t any longer a functional site, showed a forged tax return that purported to show documents pertaining to the supposed bank account. 

Several posters specifically cited and congratulated weev for the site. VirtualRoad’s analysis of nouveaumartel.com shows it shares internet protocol addresses with the Daily Stormer. And the person who registered it used the name “weevlos.” 

Leaked documents played a major role in the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, though it’s impossible to tell how they affected the vote. The U.S. intelligence community has declared that the Russian government specifically directed the hacking of several Democratic party servers, and the subsequent leaking of files to journalists and to WikiLeaks. In a different instance, hackers broke into a think tank and shared a dump of its files — after adding a faked document that purported to show it had given Hillary Clinton improper campaign donations.

It’s unclear if weev would face any legal trouble if he was behind the efforts to defame Macron. A French security official told the Wall Street Journal that the country is investigating neo-Nazis’ roles in the election.

Auernheimer couldn’t be reached for comment. Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin didn’t respond to emailed questions, and weev’s former lawyer, Tor Ekeland, told Vocativ he was unfamiliar with the accusation.