If you guessed a hacked photo of Justin Bieber's penis, you would be right.
A selfie of Bieber with his pants down, holding his junk like an offering to the social media gods, was posted to Chantel Jeffries' Instagram account this afternoon. Within moments it was clear that Jeffries hadn't posted the picture herself—or tagged his member "Selena Gomez" and captioned the shot, "I love you Justin," as whoever did post the picture absolutely did do.
Not only that, the picture was, not exactly a stock photo, but what appeared to be an already photoshopped image you can grab off the Internet to, er, do whatever you want with. Only the top half, a familiar-looking shirtless selfie in which he's wearing shorts and boxer-briefs, was Bieber. The bottom half...
Some other guy. Well, we think. (Feel free to examine all the anatomy on the internet up close, but yeah, taking a pass on this one.)
So that at least means a little less effort than initially thought went into this.
No one had to hack Bieber or Jeffries' (or someone else entirely's) cloud to find this naked shot and then tap into Jeffries' Instagram.
But, as Jeffries frantically insisted via Snapchat moments after the graphic pic went live, her Instagram was totally hacked.
No offense to the splendor of the human body in all its natural glory, blah, blah, but... Ew! WTF, hackers?!
In addition to that being a crude way of messing with Jeffries, who except for having seen a movie with Bieber last month after one of his concerts has barely even been in the picture lately, it was also an even nastier dig at Gomez in the wake of her ill-advised back and forth with her ex on Instagram (which she has since called "selfish and pointless").
And unfortunately, though we get 18 app updates a day promising to fix bugs and tighten security, it seems as though this hacking nonsense is only getting worse. (The fact that the pic of Bieber seemed to be doctored in the first place at least took away the shred of doubt that Jeffries wasn't hacked, but was remorseful. Her next Instagram post, "Sitting in my lawyers office like: F--k u hacker :)" helped too.
Meanwhile, it's a serious crime, one that can be incredibly traumatic and invasive for the victims—as the guy sentenced to 10 years in prison for breaching accounts belonging to Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and more huge stars found out. Same goes for the man who hacked into the email accounts of Jennifer Lawrence and others in 2014, who was facing five years in prison.
But while those crimes had far-reaching tentacles, with nude photos of Lawrence and Johansson ending up online and starting a bigger conversation about everything from Internet security and how the cloud works to privacy matters and whether the actresses were somehow in the wrong to have such pictures in the first place (simple answer: no), the sort of one-off hack job that afflicted Chantel Jeffries today is becoming scarily run-of-the-mill.
It seems as though no one's social media is safe from outside access. Over the last few years, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Ian Somerhalder, Ashton Kutcher, The Bachelor's Catherine Giudici (now Lowe), Mark Ruffalo, Snooki, Kris Jennerand, yes, Selena Gomez have all had Twitter and or Instagram accounts hacked—and that's just among those whom we know about because the hackers bothered to post stuff.
Mr. Robot star Portia Doubleday told E! News in June that she'd been hacked five times and Rami Maleksaid someone had definitely tried to get into his Google account. (Because their show is about hackers, most clever.)
And probably most of us have gotten spam from our friends' Yahoo and Gmail accounts after they'd been phished, or gotten an email asking if we had just tried to change our passwords, or had debit card info stolen.
It's a data-stealing jungle out there. But why the glut of hackers fiddling with celebrity accounts? Is it the same person who on one day posted a pic of a man using a toilet on Taylor Swift's Instagram and on another day tweeted from Katy Perry's account, "miss you baby @taylorswift13"? Or are there just that many people with time on their hands and a fascination with feuds?
But can we all agree that Bieber attached to another guy's penis should be it? Twitter-and-Instagram hacking's swan song?
Jeffries has a more-than-respectable Instagram following of 2 million people, so a hacker must have reasoned that it was worth his or her time to mess with her account (and the delicate Justin-Selena balance in the process). Bieber deleted his Instagram; Gomez has been hacked before, so presumably she's made very conscientious password choices ever since. So maybe Jeffries was an unsuspecting, easy target.
According to various experts, from IT professionals to the hackers themselves, it's become apparent that people—celebs included—just aren't as protective of their data (phones, social media accounts, email passwords, etc.) as they could or should be. That free Wi-Fi at the café? Bad! One password for everything? Bad! Clicking on too many links that, in hindsight, were suspicious? Bad!
Wired reported back in May that someone had gained access to user date from what could have been more than 360 million MySpace accounts and that the info was for sale on some massive online forum somewhere. Oh, and that the hack occurred in 2013, when a lot of people still actually used MySpace the way they use Facebook. The site put a bunch of security fixes into effect after the hack, but a lot of information was floating around out...there.
A hacker who goes by the name J5Z in the hacking world took The Daily Beast through the process of breaking into celebrities' Twitter accounts in June to prove how unfortunately easy it is to do so.
LeakedSource boasts a database of almost 2 billion email addresses, user names and passwords—all information, it insists, that has already been affected by a data breach. For a fee, you can plug your info in there to see if you've been hacked. However, one hack begets another. J5Z said that, for 76 cents, he could get a celebrity's MySpace info and, a lot of the time the password worked for Twitter too. (He didn't do anything to the accounts he successfully accessed, but rather emailed the celebs, offering to help with their security.)
So let this be a memo to would-be hackers (though the term "hacking" is a bit of a misnomer in these cases, because technically hacking refers to a significant data breach). Accessing a celeb's Twitter or Instagram (or Tumblr or anything else) is an invasion of privacy, you're committing a crime and chances are you're serving no higher, Wikileaks-style purpose. It's not even technologically impressive, according to those who've been more than happy to explain just how it's done.
It may make a few headlines when you make it look for a hot second like Katy Perry is tweeting Taylor Swift, but at the end of the day... sad trombone.
But in a show of solidarity with Chantel Jeffries, let's all change our passwords and join forces against those who would litter Instagram with photoshopped Justin Bieber nudes. They must be stopped.