Bill Gates's social security number, address, credit report and more... published by hackers

Filed Under: Celebrities, Featured, Hacked, Microsoft, Privacy

Bill Gates is the latest celebrity to have had his personal information published on a website that has exposed the social security numbers, addresses and personal financial information of a number of people in the public eye.

Bill Gates exposed

As with the leak earlier this week of personal data belonging to - amongst others - the likes of Kim Kardashian, Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé, it appears that the private information has been sourced from a trio of credit reporting companies - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Although the FBI are said to be investigating who is behind the "Secret Files" website, it is currently still accessible.

And whoever is behind the mystery website has been busy continuing to update it - with personal information of more public figures including Mitt Romney, Tiger Woods, and R Kelly as well as the founder of Microsoft.

Is this Bill Gates credit report?

Once again, we reiterate that we do not recommend that users visit this website - as you could be putting your computer at risk of malware infection, as well as encouraging the illegal information disclosure.

Meanwhile, what still isn't clear is just how unauthorised parties managed to fraudulently access the records of well-known figures without authorisation.

One theory is that those behind the website were able to gather information on the internet about the celebrities, and then use that data to successfully impersonate their targets and access the credit histories.

No doubt, in time, we'll find out. But how many more celebrities will find themselves doxed in the meantime?

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10 Responses to Bill Gates's social security number, address, credit report and more... published by hackers

  1. Nigel · 588 days ago

    If indeed it turns out that access was gained by impersonating the celebrities in question, isn't that a form of identity theft? It seems so to me, anyway.

    It's probably axiomatic that celebrities are at greater risk of such chicanery, owing to the fact that so much about their lives becomes public knowledge. Alas, as long as Not-Minding-Your-Own Business syndrome remains an epidemic affliction of the human species, the "public's" craving for details about the private lives of famous people is likely to remain insatiable.

    "Rich" and "famous" traditionally have gone hand in hand. Fame has always made targets of the famous, but identity theft ramps up their risk. If one aspires to riches, it would seem prudent to seek "rich and anonymous" instead.

  2. Robert · 588 days ago

    Sophos, I would expect you to know that a person ssn could be easily obtained in the crime forums that exist for a relatively low price. With a fraudulent credit card and the proper information you can easily purchase a credit report from any agency - which most can be obtained by google for high profile people like celebrites, etc in order to do these lookups.

    This isn't exactly a skilled "hack" or "leak" - seems like some kid who stumbled on some crime forums and purchased some ssn/dob lookups. You should visit briankrebs more often Sophos, tsk tsk.

  3. eet · 588 days ago

    I doubt it was social engineering. "Hey IRS, it's me Bill Gates. What's uhh... what's my social again?"

  4. Saltygi · 588 days ago

    If anyone deserves such, Bill Gates should stand at the top for his social engerining activities. He provides much money towards the dumbing down of our kids.

  5. John Martinez · 587 days ago

    I am thinking that this is the next evolution of Stuxnet: Celebrity Stuxnet. Perhaps the espresso machines in their mansions are now secretly brewing coffee at sub-optimal temperatures.

    Seriously though, isn't it about time we dump the SSN# concept into the scrap-heap of history, or should we keep pretending that in 2013 a short fixed string of digits should be the key to protecting your credit and personal information.

  6. Deramin · 587 days ago

    Your bank account gets stolen, they close it and start a new one. The numbers that are exposed to the world are not your real account identity with the bank. And that's just one set of money. I really want to know why we leave the core of our identity sitting on the front porch in an unchangeable number.

    This hack gives us a very rare chance to make something really good come out of something really bad. America being what it is, the fact that the victims are are high profile with lots of money, influence, and angry lawyers might mean this terrible system will get fixed. So if we care, we should be writing our law makers and telling them to get on that. If there's one thing our politicians might be able to agree on, it's sucking up to media gods.

  7. CrankyYankee · 587 days ago

    Strange-but-true! When I was in the military in the mid 70's, my SSAN was part of my official address(and return address) for mail to be sent to me. Like this:
    ---------------------------------------
    My Name
    000-00-0000
    Company Name / Box #
    APO, NY 00000
    ---------------------------------------
    Like I said, strange but true!

  8. Tom B · 587 days ago

    This is only a measure to get people thinking people are getting hacked, in order to further the cyber security bills. Notice michelle obama just got hacked too?

  9. Anonymous · 586 days ago

    There's some kind of implication here that a social security number is super hard to obtain. The credit scores and everything else can be gotten via that. If you know enough details about someone's birth, which is easy enough for famous people, you can get all this kind of info. What's the big scare about?

  10. AlphaCentauri · 586 days ago

    Privacy matters when some people have it and some people don't. If no one's medical records or financial records were secret, it might change our perception of whether having such things public is a problem.

    Before AIDS, homosexuality was kept secret. When so many prominent people became ill and died, the straight community realized how much the gay community had been contributing to society. The "Silence=Death" campaign probably was a significant factor in the changed attitudes toward homosexuality.

    When anyone's porn purchases or bounced checks or chemotherapy treatments -- or all the other normal parts of life that are perversely considered too personal to reveal -- might become public, maybe we'll stop judging people based on things that are so totally unimportant in the first place.

    As far as social security numbers, did you ever work for an asshole? He has your social security number.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.