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Lady Gaga, Kesha, Clarkson, and more attacked

A pair of German ne'er-do-wells stand accused of attacking the computers of celebrities including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kesha, Kelly Clarkson and others, being picked up after bragging of their exploits on a series of underground forums.

According to a report in The Telegraph, the unnamed pair - one aged 17 from Duisburg and the other 23 and hailing from Wessel - have yet to be charged, but are being put under pressure by German federal police following a joint investigation with the US FBI.

Rolf Haferkamp, state prosecutor, is said to have described the pair's alleged crimes as "illegal, bootlegged publication, and spying using Trojans."

It is believed that the pair were attempting to gain access to unreleased music, having come to the FBI's attention following a complaint from Kelly Clarkson that her as-yet unreleased album had suddenly appeared on file-sharing sites across the Internet.

The two attackers weren't averse to a little blackmail, however: having discovered images on Kesha's computer which allegedly showed the singer naked and engaging in sexual acts, the miscreants attempted to blackmail her - an attempted crime which failed when the singer refused to hand over any money.

It's a high-profile attack, but one which is increasingly simple to carry out as black-hat coders make increasingly sophisticated Trojans to order - and, as Kesha's case shows, the cost can be significantly higher than a bit of lost music or an illegitimate spending spree using stolen credit card details.

Early reports indicate that the two attackers have confessed to their crimes, although this has yet to be confirmed by the German authorities.