LAPD, the FBI and the Secret Service are searching for the hackers who posted celebrities' personal information on a website with roots in Russia. Dozens of public figures were hacked, from First Lady Michelle Obama to LA Police Chief Charlie Beck. It appears the hackers obtained the information through the website annualcreditreport.com. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 12, 2013.
Authorities and celebrities are grappling with how to respond to a website that posted what appears to be private financial information about top government officials, including Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
The site's page on Beck includes a taunting reference to former officer Christopher Dorner, who was killed in a shootout after killing four people over several days last month. Beck's page included the message "#YouCantCornerTheDorner" and an image of a woman protesting police corruption.
"We will vigorously pursue the individuals who have made me a victim and have made a number of other people who are in the public eye victims," Beck said at a Tuesday meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission.
Beck is joined by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, FBI Director Robert Mueller and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Celebrities Beyonce Knowles, Ashton Kutcher, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are also named.
Los Angeles police and the FBI said they were aware of the pages but declined to confirm they were investigating the site, which posted purported Social Security numbers and credit reports of the leaders of both agencies.
Pages posted on Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not include credit reports but included addresses and other sensitive information.
Social Security numbers posted on Gibson, Jay-Z and others matched records in public databases.
The site, which bore an internet suffix originally assigned to the Soviet Union, remained active Monday evening and had garnered nearly 70,000 hits, according to a ticker on the homepage.
It did not state how the information was obtained or why the 17 people targeted on the site were selected, describing the records only as "secret files."
Its existence was first reported Monday by celebrity website TMZ.
Several of the purported credit reports appear to have been generated last week.
Representatives for each person targeted either declined to comment on the accuracy of the information that was posted, or they did not return messages seeking comment.
Several of the pages, to which we are chosing not to link, featured unflattering pictures of the celebrities or government officials whose information was posted.
While government officials often have to disclose details on their finances – and celebrity divorces sometimes feature public financial data – the information posted online exceeds those disclosures.
Social Security numbers are rarely included in public records anymore because they can be used for identity theft.