Hackers have leaked the alleged personal finance records of over a dozen US politicians and celebrities including First Lady Michelle Obama, Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Britney Spears. The FBI is investigating.
When Gossip website TMZ first reported the leak on Monday
without disclosing the hacking site’s name, the list contained
sensitive information for 11 prominent Americans: Celebrities Kim
Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z and
Beyonce, as well as public figures Joe Biden, Robert Mueller,
Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
The number of victims of the hacking later increased by six, with Michelle Obama now topping the list. The site does not explain why these particular individuals had their personal data leaked.
The website in question is Exposed.su, RT has learned.
The ‘.su’ domain was the Soviet Union's country code for a short period – from 1990 to 1991, when the country was dissolved. The hackers’ website is linked to a Twitter account partly written in poor Russian, as though the messages were translated by machine.
The page contains links to the names of the figures allegedly hacked, an image of a girl holding her forefinger up to her mouth, and a quote from the television program Dexter: "If you believe that God makes miracles, you have to wonder if Satan has a few up his sleeve.”
While most of the celebrities’ pictures on the website are unflattering, the clear exception is Michelle Obama - whose page shows an ‘I love Michelle Obama’ sign and features an excuse written above her personal data: “Blame your husband, we still love you, Michelle. <3”
Among the specific details included in the data dump are the Social Security numbers and alleged home addresses and contact information for most of the celebrities, as well as their credit reports and other financial information.
Several of the purported credit reports appear to have been generated last week, according to AP, which also said that the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating how the Social Security number, address and credit report of their police chief ended up on the site. "The best word I can use to describe it is creepy," Los Angeles police Commander Andrew Smith said in an interview with AP.
The LAPD also vowed to investigate leaks of personal info of any
celebrities living in the city if they make such a request.
The FBI confirmed the following day that it was investigating not only the leak of FBI Director Robert Mueller’s personal data but the entire affair, according to an official's comment to the Huffington Post.
For former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, hackers have released only her Social Security Number and places of residence. For other targets, though, the information leaked allows for much more of a glimpse into their finances.
Although disclosures of financial details are not uncommon for
government officials, or discussions of a celebrity’s net worth,
the data made public is never as detailed as that disclosed by the
Exposed.su hackers. Further, anyone whose Social Security Number is
made public is at risk of identity theft.
According to the documents hosted on Exposed.su, Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher was spending $981 each month for a car he leased from Chase Auto Finance in 2004. Rapper Jay-Z, real name Sean Carter, has been reported to a collections agency on at least one occasion. As of this month, he also has a HSBC mortgage account with a balance of $816,882, and a credit line of over $5.5 million. The page for his wife, performer Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, includes the singer’s SSN, a list of homes and a handful of phone numbers, as well as bank transaction information.
RT called one of the numbers listed as belonging to Beyoncé to confirm its authenticity, but was transferred to two separate operators, who claimed that they had received a number of calls. That number was revealed to be registered to Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, "A leading full-service business management firm for entertainers, executives and select high net worth individuals."
AP attempted to reach representatives of celebrities on the hackers’ list, only to have them decline to comment or receive no response at all.