Michael Phelps Targeted by Hackers After Winning 19th Gold Medal

Just a few hours after Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian of all time, added a 19th gold medal to his collection, hackers decided to target him.

A collective that calls itself the New World Hackers has claimed responsibility for taking down the U.S. swimmer’s website, just after he took home an Olympic gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay in Rio de Janeiro.

Like another group, OurMine, New World has made a name for itself by attacking celebrities and other high-profile targets. Previous targets have included GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, the singer Adele, the BBC and government websites in Pakistan. Also like OurMine, the group claims to be carrying out the attacks in the name of “security research,” saying that the victims should “take this as a guide, how to secure a site, accounts and more.”

New World told Newsweek that it launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against Phelps for just that reason. And beyond disabling the website, the group said it has no intention of stealing data or revealing private information of the swimmer.

“The attack on Michael Phelps is an example showing how celebrities' websites lack security measures,” a member told the outlet. “We’re testing the network vulnerability of every celebrity we come past. No celebrity is safe. We have tested over 100 celebrities so far and around 70 of them have caught our eye. Adele.com has the worst security you will ever see in your life.”

Despite their declarations of having altruistic motives, the group has created a tool called BangStresser, which belongs to the category of DDoS-for rent offerings—and the website takedowns serve as advertising for their wares.

The spokesperson also said that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are on the list of potential next targets.

“The smartest celebs would be the Kardashian family and Kanye West,” the source said. “They actually have good protection on the domains, only one problem. They left one fatal error that will eventually cost them.”

Photo © Mitch Gunn/Shutterstock.com

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