Britney Spears' Instagram reportedly targeted by Russian hackers
Britney Spears' Instagram account was reportedly used to communicate malware code by Russian hackers.
According to editors at Rolling Stone, the singer was subject to a plot straight out of the spy books after Russian hackers left trackable code carefully hidden among the comments on one of her Instagram pictures.
A report released this week from Slovakian security firm ESET, published in tech magazine Engadget, alleged that among thousands of comments found on the "Toxic" singer's Instagram page, there are some that contain covert malware instructions, including one from Turla, a Russian group that ESET alleges has long targeted governments, government officials and diplomats.
The now deleted comment, which was posted on a photo of the star in February read: "#2hot make loved to her, uupss #Hot #X."
According to ESET, hidden in the post was a trackable hash that contained a string of characters that correlated with a bit.ly link, which would in turn connect to the malware's command-and-control server.
Compromised machines are programmed to periodically scan for these specially-targeted comments on the singer's Instagram page so they’re able to continue communicating with the hackers even after the initial command-and-control server gets shut down.
However, due to the low number of hits on the bit.ly link, ESET surmised this particular comment was simply a test post.
The "Gimme More" hitmaker currently has 16.9 million Instagram followers. The post that was targeted has more than 420,000 likes and 2,200 comments. Because of the high volume of traffic on celebrity social media accounts, Britney and other high profile stars with millions of followers, these kinds of codes and messages are easy for hackers to hide.
Representatives for Britney and Instagram did not immediately reply to Rolling Stone's requests for comment.