- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
A website popped up Monday that divulges the credit card and social security numbers as well as other private account information for major government officials and celebrities.
According to TMZ, some of the victims of the Internet crime include Paris Hilton, Beyoncé, Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Mel Gibson, Donald Trump, Britney Spears, and Kim Kardashian. As of Tuesday, the total has grown to 17 affected.
The website the information is posted on has a “.su” suffix, a domain linked to the old Soviet Union. However, detectives believe the perpetrators do not actually reside in Russia. Upon examination, RIA Novosti traced it to a California IP address registered to Cloudfare, a website enhancement company.
Apparently, the criminals utilized AnnualCreditReport.com, a website created to give consumers free access to their annual credit card reports, confirms NBC News. The Equifax credit bureau acknowledged a security breach, stating that at least four of the mentioned celebrities’ files had been accessed by inputting enough correct personal information necessary for authentication, including bank names and addresses.
Further, TMZ has learned that the hackers are not only publicizing the scandal for recognition, but they have also been using the obtained financial information- possibly for withdrawals of large sums of money.
The FBI, who had begun investigations prior to public knowledge of the hack, has warned the public figures to put fraud alerts on their bank accounts. This way, the bank would have to first contact them before anyone was granted access to their funds.