News & Politics

Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Donald Trump Targeted in Hack

Financial and personal information of 24 high profile Americans was posted to a mysterious website.

A website listing high profile Americans' personal information leads with this mysterious image.
Photo Credit:

The FBI, Secret Service and LAPD are investigating a security breach that potentially compromised the financial and personal information of Michelle Obama and 23 other political figures, government officials and celebrities, Reuters reports.

First reported by TMZ, the addresses, credit reports, social security numbers, and contact information of high profile Americans appeared on the website Monday. At least some of the information was hacked from the consumer credit reporting agency Equifax Inc, which launched its own investigation into the breach.

“The fraudsters would have had to have a lot of information... this is pretty detailed stuff,” company spokesman Timothy Klein told Reuters.

The site’s homepage features a grayscale photograph of what Reuters accurately describes as “a mysterious-looking woman wearing heavy eye make-up with one finger over her lips.” Links at the bottom of the homepage send users to separate pages created for each targeted individual.

It’s unclear how much of the posted information is accurate. A number listed for Michelle Obama directs users to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she worked before 2009. But other numbers lead callers to seemingly random destinations. As Reuters reports, “The phone number given for [Joe] Biden on the website turned out to be that of a store in Delaware, and one given for [Ashton] Kutcher was for a New York City accounting firm, raising questions about how much of the other information posted was accurate.”

A FBI spokesperson classified the attack as a “dox,” whereby hackers publically post the private information of an individual. She told Reuters that just because the information’s out there doesn’t necessarily mean it’s real.

"What we've seen on the website is an example of doxing, with pretty high profile individuals, celebrities and public figures," Shearer said. "(It) doesn't mean it's true."

Other listed targets include, former VP Al Gore, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, U.S. marshals director Stacia Hylton, retired wrestler Hulk Hogan, real estate mogul Donald Trump, the actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson, the musicians Jay Z, Beyonce and Kanye West, and the socialites Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Paris Hilton.

The perpetrator also targeted FBI director Robert Mueller and LAPD chief Charlie Beck.

A page dedicated to Chief Beck features a photograph of a woman protesting his department’s handling of the Christopher Dorner chase and includes the hashtag #YouCantCornerTheDorner. LAPD says it is looking into the breach, but will only investigate cases of other area individuals upon request.

“The best word I can use to describe it is creepy,” Los Angeles police Commander Andrew Smith told The Daily Mail, “It's a creepy thing to do.”

Other individuals’ pages display less serious photographs, referencing memes and Internet culture. Mitt Romney’s page displays a popular meme, in which President Obama simultaneously shrugs at the camera while speaking on his cell phone next to text saying “Hey Mitt, you mad bro?” The image for Hulk Hogan is an angry baby made up to resemble the retired wrestler.

The Daily Mail points out that the website’s .su domain suffix was originally created in 1990 for the Soviet Union.

At time of publication, representatives for most of the targeted individuals declined to comment to media.

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.