Two days after seemingly secure credit information about various celebrities and political figures first appeared online, the scandal is continuing to grow. Now, even President Obama is speaking out about the "doxxing" issue, or, the process by which hackers are posting online potentially embarrassing, very private documents … belonging to very public figures.
On Tuesday, Al Gore, Kanye West, and Kris Jenner became the latest victims to have their private information posted on the website in question. And, by Wednesday morning, U.S. Marshals Director Stacia Hylton, Mitt Romney, and Tiger Woods were also hit.
In a new interview with ABC's George Stephanopolous that aired on "Nightline" Tuesday, President Barack Obama spoke for the first time about this situation.
"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 said. "Again, I'm not confirming that that's what happened, but you've got web sites out there that tell people's credit card info. That's how sophisticated they are."
While there have been questions regarding the authenticity of the information posted online, none of the victims besides L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck (on Monday) have come forward to acknowledge that the information posted about them is accurate. However, now it appears that at least a significant amount of the information is indeed legitimate, even if some of the addresses and phone numbers posted are old.
Late Tuesday, credit reporting agency Equifax confirmed that at least some of the data came through a security violation in their system. "We are aware of recent media reports pertaining to unauthorized access to files belonging to high-profile individuals," began Tim Klein, Vice President of Public Relations for Equifax. "Equifax can confirm that fraudulent and unauthorized access to four consumer credit reports has occurred."
Although some reports pointed to the website and doxxers in question as originating from Russia, there's been no evidence to confirm the allegation. On Tuesday, omg! spoke with Dave Aitel, the CEO of Immunity, Inc., a boutique tech security firm, who pointed out that the folks behind this case could be located anywhere in the world.
Aitel, who is also a former NSA security advisor and an expert in information security, additionally pointed out that he believes the perpetrators behind this case have a political agenda … one which has yet to be revealed.
"I can't think of a more political example than this," he explained. "They're using something that is a very effective means of protest … I think it will be interesting to see what their political message is … and I do think that they have one!"
In fact, a political agenda may already be starting to emerge. The latest posts about Hylton (the U.S. Marshals Director) and Romney, were accompanied by photo memes of President Obama. The Hylton post featured a photo of Obama smirking while talking into a cell phone with the text "DEAL WITH IT" written over the photo. The Romney post featured the same photo, covered by the text, "Hey Mitt, You mad bro?" … And the Romney pic also included an image of a megaphone with text that mysteriously read, "THE MESSAGE."
omg! spoke with the FBI again on Wednesday, but they are not issuing any statement or comment regarding the status of this case.
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