It seems somewhat ironic, Angelina Jolie who starred as “Kate” aka Acid Burn in the movie “Hackers” has now joined the almost dozen celebrities who have had their financial information hacked into and released for the Internet to share.
TMZ reports that both Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie are the latest in a line of online hack jobs which pulled financial information including social security numbers, credit card information, car loans, banking information and even mortgage amounts and released them online. Among the others hurt by the hackers were Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Robert Mueller, Tiger Woods, Kanye West, Eric Holder, Robert De Niro, Dennis Rodman, Michael Vick, NRA advocate Wayne LaPierre and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. There are also reports of Britney Spears, Donald Trump and even the first lady Michelle Obama being victims of these same hacksters. In the First Ladies case, it appears the problem is really with the president as they stated “”Blame your husband, we still love you, Michelle.”
Other political figures include Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden and Al Gore. However, either there is little to be learned online about these particular political figures or they are protected better online than the other victims, there was little information revealed about them.
Credit agencies are making their own inquiries, and as reported by Forbes Magazine, “We learned about this late this afternoon [and] immediately launched an investigation,” a TransUnion spokesperson said by email.
The hackers appeared to be based out of Russia and performed a dump of the information on a website which now appears to be based on an island off the coast of Madagascar in a technique known as “doxxing.” But here’s the really interesting part, doxxing is the act of obtaining and posting private information about a person by scouring the Internet and is not necessarily illegal.
“You can post it as long as there is nothing nefarious about it,” says LAPD cyber crimes detective Andrew Kleinick. “They are public figures and that kind of thing happens. It’s not right, [but] I know of no crime. He continues “The exception occurs when information obtained through doxxing is used to threaten someone, steal someone’s identity, or infiltrate private emails.”
However, the three biggest credit-report agencies in the U.S. indicated that the credit reports were obtained after “considerable amounts” of information, including social security numbers, were input into their systems in what appears to be an effort to impersonate the famous victims and come away with their credit reports. Apparently that is illegal.
“There is no such thing as complete cybersecurity,” says John Villasenor, a UCLA professor and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “As the number of devices and services continues to increase, personal information is stored on more and more systems. Not all of those systems are sufficiently secure, which means that we’re likely to see more of these sorts of data compromises in the coming years.”
The Secret Service and FBI are taking these threats seriously and have launched investigations, in addition to the investigations by the LAPD.