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Russian hackers used Britney Spears’ Instagram to control malware, say security researchers

It seems like another deleted scene from Idiocracy. Many of the faded pop queen’s Instagram photos have included a comment that seems fairly innocent but is actually sending instructions to malware controlled by hackers linked to the Russian government. That’s the finding of security researchers at ESET, a Slovakian security firm that is investigating Turla, a group of hackers that have attacked governments and educational institutions around the world.

Back in February, user “asmith215” wrote “#2hot make loved to her, uupss #Hot #X.” That seems fairly inane, but hidden in that comment are some characters—2kdhuHX—that are actually part of a bit.ly link that “would then let the malware connect to its controllers,” reports Engadget. “Such a method allows the controllers to change where it meets up with the malware without having to change the malware itself.”

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