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Russian Hackers Are Secretly Communicating Through Britney Spears’s Instagram

Britney Spears. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Britney Spears’s Instagram is a near-perfect place. There was that time she Googled a picture of a piece of corn and posted it as though she had just eaten the cob herself. There’s her penchant for videos of her modeling outfits while strutting the halls of her home like a catwalk. And — this is where the “near” in “near-perfect place” comes in — there’s a group of Russian hackers lurking in the comments of her posts. According to a report from researchers at ESET, a Slovakian security firm, a hacking group called Turla has been sending malware instructions via the singer’s Instagram comments.

An Instagrammer under the handle @asmith215 left a cryptic, now-deleted comment on one of Spears’s posts back in January. The comment read, “#2hot make loved to her, uupss #Hot #X.” While that might sound like nonsense to a normal person just looking to enjoy some good Spears content, it actually contains coded — “2kdhuHX” — malware that could prompt your computer to download a Trojan Firefox extension. (A friendly reminder to never download strange and unknown things from the internet.) ESET believes this particular instance was just a test, since very few people actually clicked the hidden link. Frankly, I think we’d all prefer it if any coded messages involving Spears remain solely in her lyrics. *Hums “If U Seek Amy.”*

Hackers Are Communicating Through Britney Spears’s Instagram