Hackers hit three celebrity sites

Hackers hit three celebrity sites
© Getty Images

Hackers succeeded in co-opting three celebrities websites this week in a range of attacks that reveal ways in which intruders can use their skills for online vandalism or phishing.

Jill Duggar, one star of TLC’s reality show 19 Kids and Counting, appears not to be monitoring her Facebook closely this week. Cyberattackers remained in control of the account on Wednesday morning, posting adult content that drew horrified reactions from Duggar’s fans.

In two other cases, the websites for singer Celine Dion and British TV chef Jamie Oliver were used to display spam, solicit personal information, and in the case of Oliver’s page, serve malware that could steal visitors’ passwords.

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Celebrities are a perpetual target for hackers who might want to steal personal information or use the figure’s website to launch further cyberattacks.

Public figures’ vulnerability to hacking was made clear last year when hackers posted a trove of almost 500 private pictures of celebrities on the image board 4chan.

The dissemination of the photos — some of them nude — sent shockwaves through Hollywood. It is believed that hackers breached Apple’s iCloud in order to obtain the pictures.

Each of the hacks against Duggar, Dion and Oliver used a different approach.

The intruder who took over Duggar’s Facebook account appears to have gained access through a stolen password.

The attack seems focused on embarrassing Duggar, whose family is conservative, by posting adult-themed Disney cartoons and links to articles such as “10 Best Reasons to Sleep With a Hot Mom.”

In the case of Dion’s site, a plugin problem led to hockey-related spam postings that sometimes asked visitors for personal and payment information,  according to reports.

The attack on JamieOliver.com is the third in just four months, meanwhile, and involves a bad link that directs users to a site that infects their computers with malware.