Online Troublemakers Target Justin Bieber Fame

Dennis Faas's picture

Internet troublemakers, whether malicious or mischievous, often try to capitalize on interest in celebrities. That's the case with singer Justin Bieber, who has been the victim of at least three online hacker campaigns.

The first incident took place when hackers discovered a recent flaw in YouTube's site design which allowed for a cross-site scripting attack. That's a potentially serious measure that allows a hacker to put their own malicious programming code into somebody else's website.

In this case, the hackers were able to post code in the comments section and have that code run automatically when visitors came to the page. (Source:

At first this was mainly exploited by spammers who would automatically have YouTube clips redirect to dubious commercial pages. However, it was later picked up by pranksters at the notorious "4chan" message board, home to many online crazes. They redirected clips of Bieber to a variety of sites, including nefarious video pages of the adult genre, and a spoof news report claiming Bieber had died in a car crash.

Online Poll Gives Unlikely Results

That's not the only way 4chan users and followers have targeted Bieber in recent days. They've also encouraged people to take advantage of a vote on an official site for his online tour asking fans which countries he should visit. Thus far, North Korea tops the list.

As the BBC somewhat understatedly put it, "Given the fact that almost all citizens of North Korea are denied Internet access and there are restrictive controls over all media, it is unlikely that any of the votes have actually come from within the country."

In another 4chan prank, users agreed among themselves to simultaneously search for the term "Justin Bieber Syphylis", which caused it to top Google's official list of the most searched-for terms at the moment. (Source:

Not every pop star is having such a troubling time online, however. Lady Gaga has just become the first person to attract 10 million fans on Facebook. She's the beneficiary of a change to the system which allows one-way relationships ("fans of...") as well as the traditional "friends" system in which both parties must agree to the online relationship.

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