Russian hackers are hiding in Britney Spears’s Instagram account

❝ In order to hack foreign governments, military officials, and embassies, Russian hackers are now using Britney Spears in their operations by posting cryptic comments on her Instagram photos.

Hackers at Turla, a group believed to be linked to Moscow, are using Instagram comments on Britney Spears’s photos to control their hacking operation, said researchers at Slovakian security firm ESET…

❝ The comment doesn’t make sense and doesn’t seem threatening to the untrained eye. But, according to ESET, it’s key to the hackers’ success.

❝ After compromising computers, hackers need a way to send them instructions and get data back. They often set up a command and control server to do this. Security professionals defending against cyberattacks usually try to find the central server and shut it down in hopes of crippling the entire network.

The comment on Britney Spears’s photo is a clever strategy for announcing the location of a new command and control server after the previous one gets shut down. When decoded, it’s actually the central server’s internet address

❝ So why are the Russian hackers now targeting an American pop star’s Instagram account?

The answer is simple: Web traffic from users around the world is constantly flowing through Instagram. It would be incredibly easy to hide malicious comments and links on photos posted by celebrities…

❝ The discovery raises questions about what else is hiding in the comment sections of celebrities’ social media pages and how Russian hackers are getting creative to avoid tracking.

And, of course, no country’s cyberspooks have exclusive use of creepy hacks, political or otherwise. The same stunts are liable to be foisted on popular websites by the NSA or CIA – or Trump’s favorite 400-lb teenager in his Long Island bedroom.

3 thoughts on “Russian hackers are hiding in Britney Spears’s Instagram account

  1. Antigonish says:

    Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported. https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-13/russian-breach-of-39-states-threatens-future-u-s-elections “The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step — complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone. …The new details, buttressed by a classified National Security Agency document recently disclosed by the Intercept, show the scope of alleged hacking that federal investigators are scrutinizing as they look into whether Trump campaign officials may have colluded in the efforts.”

  2. 20 Komsomolsky Prospekt says:

    Russian hackers were caught in the act — and the results are devastating (Washington Post Oct 5, 2018) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/russian-hackers-were-caught-in-the-act–and-the-results-are-devastating/2018/10/05/5e72495a-c8b5-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html?utm_term=.1478b5ccad50 “…[this] may be the largest security breach the GRU [Russian Military Intelligence] has ever experienced.
    It also represented a new turning point in the West’s fight against the onslaught of Russian disinformation, for this particular GRU team was not engaged in a traditional form of spying. They were not looking for secret information; they were looking for dirt. They wanted embarrassing stories, catty emails or anything at all that would discredit organizations that seek to establish the truth about Russian crimes: OPCW, WADA, the MH17 investigation, the Swiss chemical lab. Had they found anything, they would not have analyzed it in secret, they would have leaked it.
    This is a familiar pattern. A similar search for kompromat was one of the motivations for the GRU’s hack of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, as well as of Hillary Clinton’s election campaign.”

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