Former Manchester United and Real Madrid football player David Beckham has become the latest celebrity to find himself on the receiving end of a website defacement.
Over the weekend, hackers were able to add an image of a dog trying to consume a bowl of dogfood printed on a street poster to his homepage with the cryptic message “ScooterDaShooter = FAIL” embedded on it. Two days later, the same image remains on the homepage.
When Beckham finally picks up the phone to ask his web team to remove the image, he might reflect that the hack wasn’t more unpleasant. Earlier this month, under-fire British singer Amy Winehouse suffered a more insulting defacement, apparently by gay African rap fans, which has resulted in the site disappearing altogether.
In April, fellow footballer Ronaldinho had his fan site defaced by images comparing the star's appearance to that of unpopular Star Wars character, Jar Jar Binks.
It has become routine for celebrities to have websites, often combined with social media feeds, but security doesn’t appear to be as big an issue as it could be.
“While David Beckham is clearly not responsible for the day-to-day security of his website, whoever he outsources the job to should be facing some penalties for this own goal,” commented John Stock of security company, Outpost24.
“Celebrities, or those who are responsible for the upkeep of their websites, need to ensure that security is watertight to prevent both embarrassment to the individual concerned and potential damage to unsuspecting web users.”
Attention on Beckham’s website will he higher than normal this week. On Monday, he and his wife, former Spice Girls singer Victoria Beckham, announced the birth of their fourth child, named ‘Harper Seven Beckham’.
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