Skip to main content

Brazen breach: Hackers posted a copy of Michelle Obama’s passport online

Michelle Obama
ChinellatoPhoto/Shutterstock
U.S. government cybersecurity is in the limelight again because a scan of First Lady Michelle Obama’s passport has appeared online.

According to the White House, the Gmail account of a government contractor that was responsible for booking travel arrangements was breached. This allowed the hacker to gather a great deal of information, including not only the passport scan, but also the names, social security numbers, and travel schedules of some staff members. The data was posted on DCLeaks.com where former secretary of state Colin Powell’s emails were posted recently.

The veracity of the document has not been fully confirmed but U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch said that the incident was “something that we are looking into.” The Secret Service said it was aware of the matter but would not say if a formal investigation will commence. A White House spokesperson told The Guardian it was taking a “close look” but was keen to point out that it was likely a contractor that was hacked, not a government network.

The image of Michelle Obama’s passport itself will not cause too much damage. While it does make her passport number public, the rest of the information, like birth date, her photograph, and place of birth were all public information anyway. It does however raise questions over why a government contractor was handling this information through its Gmail account and what other data could be vulnerable in similar situations.

This is the latest cyber incident to hit U.S. politics this year after the Democratic National Committee was targeted by hackers this summer. In that incident, the hackers released swathes of emails, and forced the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Speculation has run rampant that Russian hackers working with the Russian government were responsible.

There has been no comment on whether this latest breach is connected to that one in any way but alleged state-sponsored hacking attacks are becoming a bigger and bigger concern. Just this week Yahoo announced the details of a massive hack that affected 500 million accounts, which it is blaming on state actors.

Jonathan Keane
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jonathan is a freelance technology journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. He's previously written for publications and sites…
Lenovo sale: Get up to 67% off ThinkPad Laptops, from $600
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 front angled view showing display and keyboard.

Lenovo has a huge laptop sale going on right now with select ThinkPad laptops available from just $600. If you need a new system for your small business, working on the move, or other productivity-focused plans, these are the laptop deals for you. With over a dozen laptops in the sale, it’s a good idea to take a look at the sale for yourself, but we’re also here with some insight into the best deals.

What to shop for in the Lenovo laptop sale
Lenovo is one of the best laptop brands for reliability and business purposes. One great starting point is being able to buy the for $600. According to Lenovo, it normally costs $1,839 which seems a little unrealistic but in keeping with Lenovo’s overly enthusiastic estimated value system. However, whatever the discount, this is a good laptop for the price. It has a 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1235U processor, 16GB of memory, and 256GB of SSD storage. For the display, you get a 14-inch full HD screen with 45% NTSC and 300 nits of brightness. There’s also a 1080p full HD RGB/IR Hybrid webcam with a privacy shutter and dual microphones.

Read more
Ghost of Tsushima is already shaping up to be a monster PC port
Jin wearing the Sarugami armor with Iki island in the background.

Sony detailed the features that will be available in the Ghost of Tsushima PC port on Tuesday, setting the stage for when the game launches on May 16. Despite some rocky PC ports from PlayStation Studios and porting studio Nixxes in the past, Ghost of Tsushima already looks impressive.
Ghost of Tsushima DLSS, FSR, and XeSS
It's launching with all of the modern bells and whistles a PC gamer could want. That includes support for Nvidia's DLSS 3 and AMD's FSR 3, both of which support upscaling and frame generation. There's also support for Intel XeSS, as well as native anti-aliasing modes for FSR and DLSS. This runs the game at native resolution but uses the anti-aliasing of the upscalers for improved image quality -- read our explainer on Nvidia Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing for more on that.

There's a treasure trove of features here that means virtually every PC gamer will have access to performance-boosting tech. FSR 3 support at launch is particularly noteworthy. Adoption of AMD's frame generation tech has been slow, and although we've seen it in recent games, it usually isn't available at launch.

Read more
The 5 best laptops for architects in 2024
AutoCAD

Architecture applications tend to require a lot of hardware resources, so laptops that work for architecture tend to be more like workstations than anything else. Of course, that does mean that they come at a pretty steep price, which is why we've picked our favorite laptops that will give you the most bang for your buck. The laptops below should easily handle most architecture applications you throw at them, although if you don't quite find what you're looking for, you may want to check out our list of the best laptops for CAD and 3D modeling.
The Best Laptops for Architects in 2024

Buy the  if you want the best overall laptop for architects
Buy the  if you want the best MacBook for architects
Buy the  if you want the best thin and portable laptop for architects
Buy the  if you want the best large-screen laptop for architects
Buy the  if you want the best dual-screen laptop for architects

Read more