Obama: Authorities Investigating after First Lady, Celebrities Hacked

Celebrities are typically the victims of bad press, paparazzi and harsh criticism on E! One role they are still getting used to playing, though, is victim to hackers.

Popular celebs such as Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, Britney Spears, Mel Gibson and Ashton Kutcher have all been victims of hacking recently. First lady Michelle Obama was also reportedly hacked, and the president says authorities are looking into the matter.

“We should not be surprised that if you’ve got hackers that want to dig in and devote a lot of resources, that they can access this information,” President Obama told ABC News. “Again, not sure how accurate but … you’ve got websites out there that tell people’s credit card info. That’s how sophisticated they are.”

Popular Targets

Within the last few years, celebrities and politicians have become popular targets for hackers. Personal information ranging from finances to photographs to text messages has been uncovered by hackers in an attempt to prank and expose celebrities and their private lives.

Several years ago, actress Scarlett Johansson was thrust into the headlines when naked pictures of her were hacked from her email account and released publicly. Actress Mila Kunis faced a similar situation when naked pictures were hacked from her cell phone and published online.

The latest hacking trend is called “doxxing,” and it is a cyber-crime that is defined as “obtaining or deducing information about a person based on a limited set of initial information” available on the Internet. More than a dozen celebrities and politicians have been hacked recently, and some of their financial information has been posted online — possibily including the first lady’s credit report and Social Security number.

Personal information including Social Security numbers, mortgage debt, credit card numbers, banking information and car loans have been uncovered and posted for the public to see. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden have also fallen prey to the hackers, as well as LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Protect Your Information

Now, while these stars are not to blame for this, there are definitely some precautions that can be taken to protect your personal information. There’s nothing like a Hollywood wake-up call to help make sure you do not follow suit. Follow these simple tips to help keep your private information just that — private:

First of all, dispose of important information that you receive after you have read it over. Whether it is bank account information, credit card statements or your latest mortgage payment, any information that you receive in the mail should be shredded or filed somewhere where you can access it, and no one else can. It’s important not to leave a paper trail, because that makes it easier for hackers to find the information they are looking for.

Using verified WiFi is also very important, but something that is often overlooked in order to save a few bucks. Stealing a neighbor’s Internet or using an unstable connection can open your information up to hackers. It’s worth it to pay the extra money for WiFi in order to keep all of your personal information safe.

Don’t forget to change your passwords frequently, and don’t use the same ones for each account. While it may be tempting in order to help keep track of them, using the same password for every account will allow hackers access to all of your information in a cinch. If you’re concerned about forgetting passwords, keep a small list to help keep them straight, but make sure it’s out of sight. Anyone who uses the dog’s name as a password in six different places is asking to be hacked.

So while your personal information may not be as enticing as celebrities’, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep your personal information locked up, and you won’t have to worry.

Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at bfay@debt.org.

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    Sources:

    1. Celebrities Hacked: Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian And Others Victims Of 'Doxxing.' (2013, March 11). HuffPost Celebrity. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/celebrities-hacked_n_2854786.html
    2. Boudreau, A. (2013, March 12). Obama: Authorities Looking Into Celeb 'Secret Files' Hack. ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/obama-authorities-celeb-secret-files-hack/story?id=18707707