Get ready for the news that’s going to blow your mind today: Britney Spears’ Instagram is being used as a tool by Russian hackers. Not even kidding. This is real life.
Slovakian security firm ESET released a report Tuesday outlining how hackers use photo comments on Spears’ Instagram to communicate with each other in code. Basically, it’s all really complicated, but here’s the general gist of it.
A hacker leaves a comment that looks like nonsense, but, you know, pretty innocuous nonsense to the untrained eye. In ESET’s report, they use this example, which has since been deleted; the comment reads, “#2hot make loved to her, uupss #Hot #X.”
Doesn’t look like anything, right? Wrong. It’s apparently a secret code that tells a hacker how to get to a new server after security officials shut down an old one. I don’t know a thing about technology so this is all confusing as heck, but Vox has a pretty good rundown of how it all works. The important thing is this: Russian hackers use Spears’ Instagram to do their Russian hacker things and nothing is safe or sacred in this world.
Why Spears’ Instagram? Since she has millions of followers and her photos get thousands of comments each, it allows the hackers to hide their instructions in plain sight. It’s kind of genius, in a totally evil way.
Also, the hacking group that does this has a long history of attacking governments, including embassies in Ukraine, China, Germany and several other countries, a state electrical authority in the Middle East and a medical organization in the United States. Nothing terrifying about this at all.