Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/18/rogue_celeb_doxing_site_drops_offline/

Doxer who? Toxic site drops offline after exposing Paris Hilton's privates

Major US credit agency Equifax confirms fraud

By John Leyden

Posted in Media, 18th March 2013 12:37 GMT

A rogue website that published the financial details on US celebs, politicians and other public figures was taken offline over the weekend - but not before it published the supposed credit reports of Bill Gates and CIA Director John Brennan. Meanwhile, all three of the major US credit agencies confirmed that fraudulent activity has taken place.

The site last week exposed the purported social security numbers, addresses and social security numbers of many US celebrities, businesspeople and political figures including Michelle Obama, Paris Hilton, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Charlie Beck, the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, among others. Dates on some of the reports, such as Hilton's, suggest some of the information was put together as recently as earlier this month.

The private information included data sourced from three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. It seems that the mystery parties behind the rogue website gathered info on celebs and public figures before using this information to successfully impersonate targets and access the credit histories, which they subsequently released.

"We are aware of recent media reports pertaining to unauthorized access to files belonging to high-profile individuals," Tim Klein, a spokesman for Equifax, told Bloomberg. "Equifax can confirm that fraudulent and unauthorized access to four consumer credit reports has occurred."

Clifton O’Neal, a spokesman for TransUnion, told the news agency that the hackers had prior information on targets, including Social Security numbers, while Experian said that it had frozen the credit files of affected parties.

The data may have come from annualcreditreport.com, a US government-established website created by the three major US credit reference agencies with the aim of making it easier for consumers to get free copies of their credit reports, reports NBC, citing sources at Equifax.

Annualcreditreport.com is frequently abused by internet denizens to steal credit reports, adds security blogger Brian Krebs.

As previously reported, the FBI and LAPD are both investigating the leak. Although the rogue website was shut down on Sunday, another group has stepped forward with the stated aim of continuing the work of the mystery doxers. ®