KUSA - President Barack Obama met with CEOs Wednesday to discuss cyber security legislation. It's an issue that hits home in the White House after hackers posted what appears to be First Lady Michelle Obama's personal financial information.
The hackers who stole and published credit reports for the first lady, the FBI director and other U.S. officials and celebrities apparently exploited annualcreditreport.com, a website that was designed to give consumers a free credit report.
That's according to a spokesman for one of the largest U.S. credit bureaus, Tim Klein of Equifax. He says an initial investigation suggests that the hackers used personal details about their victims to impersonate them and generate the credit reports.
Officials from the three major credit bureaus are all saying they're cooperating with the U.S. criminal investigation being conducted by the FBI and Secret Service.
The Associated Press has learned that the investigation includes a San Francisco-based Internet company, Cloudfare. It operates the computers that were used behind the scenes to send visitors to a Russian website where the stolen credit reports were being published. A spokeswoman for Cloudfare says the company doesn't comment on its customers.
Denver area cyber-security expert John Sileo told 9wants to Know that social media sites can provide clues for hackers to use.
"Now they know your pets' names your high school, your mothers maiden name, your relationships," Sileo said. "Using that profile they can break into your bank accounts, your investment accounts, and that's when it gets really scary."
Sileo says there is no way to get 100 percent protection. He recommends social media site users limit the personal information they put online. He says people should check their credit reports regularly for signs of identity theft. He also warns people that hackers can gain information from mobile devices including smartphones and iPads.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)