tonight on "nightline." history in the making as the world waits for a leader of more than a billion catholics. we're in rome with one american cardinal casting his crucial vote but what are the odds of an american pope? celebrity hacking with targets from jay-z and kim kardashian to the first lady. >> if you got hackers who want to dig in and devote a lot of resources, that they can access people's information. >> who is behind this latest wave of suspected cyber attacks? and touching the clouds. as the world's best paragliders compete head to head. our reporter takes to the sky to test her wings.
while pope benedict departed with the help of a helicopter and twirt, we got an update on the search for his successor and the age old form of smoke signals. black smoke signifying a look of a decision. but awaiting that smoke to turn white, our anchor. >> reporter: greetings from rome. what a day it was. you can feel the weight of history in the air. the overriding suspense in this city. who will be the next pope? today the secret and mysterious process to choose the next pope began. it was just really an awesome day here.
storm clouds gathered over st. peter's basilica almost as if god himself wanted a somber setting for a solemn day in the history of the catholic church. inside the cardinals and symbolically all the faithful gathered for one last mass. a reminder that this whole election in the belief of catholics is a kind of worship, a kind of prayer to pick the next pope. outside in the square, a few pilgrims, some romans and the curious gathered in the afternoon gloom waiting for this moment to begin. in solemn procession singing the litany of the saints, the 115 cardinals who will choose the next pope left the pauline chapel and entered the sistine chapel where michelangelo's frescos awaited them. a scene of such splendor where millions gaze up each year. now transformed as it has been
so often before to the birth place of a pope. one of these men will be chosen. there was angelo scola of milan. peter turningson, christopher schonborn. and the americans, sean o'malley of boston, timothy dolan of new york. and there too the men who will make this vote. the former archbishop of philadelphia. his journey to rome began nearly two weeks ago from the small city of knoxville, tennessee, where he is retired and we were with him as he prepared for his second conclave. he voted in benedict's election in 2005. >> this was the pen that i used, actually, in voting for the pope the last time around. >> reporter: what is it like being in that magnificent room? >> it is not just talking. we're trying to make it into something political. it is a fact that the people of
god are asking god to raise up a man who will remain a man and will be a worthy leader of the church. >> reporter: the cardinal's journey began amid the people of knoxville with 1,000 students and community members. he was cheered like a rock star at the airport as he headed to his plane and at a layover in atlanta, i met up with him. next stop, rome. having just arrived, do you have in your heart and mind an idea of who you're going to vote for? >> this is a very serious, very serious election that involves listening. it involves weighing different candidates. it can't be done before you go in and you decide, no. you have to be open to the process that's taking place. >> reporter: last week he joined the other cardinals to say
farewell to pope benedict. then they got down to the real work here. meetings and more meetings where the politics happen in the coffee breaks, too. >> the coffee breaks are a component. it gives us the opportunity to speak to the cardinals. it gives us an opportunity to exchange our thoughts. >> that was the back drop. but this was the reality today. a deeper reality, they believe. after their prayers, the simple command. everybody out, cloak cloak balancy. they left. the cameras, and the great doors were closed. and they were alone in there. the cardinal described it as a kind of fellowship in prayer. >> people are trying to listen to the inspiration of the holy spirit.
they're trying to listen to the wisdom that is communicated in their brother cardinals. >> reporter: as a cold damp evening fell on the eternal city, thousands waited in st. peter's square straining to see the chimney atop the sistine chapel. the smoke signals that signify a vote has been taken. suddenly at 7:42 p.m., there it was. black smoke. an inconclusive vote. there is no pope tonight. a plain but wholesome dinner for the cardinals tonight. we're told, pasta, of course, soups and some cheeses. they'll talk among themselves. they're staying in a vatican guest house. no phones, no tvs. in the morning they'll go back to the sistine chapel to try again. >> i hope you're getting some local fare as well. coming up next, a credit reporting agency is hacked. celebrity secrets spilled. ♪
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as more and more of our daily commerce moves online, more and more of our financial lives lives in the clouds. you don't have to be a celebrity to take alarm from the latest incident of high profile hacking. nearly a dozen bold faced names including political luminaries like michelle obama and vice president joe biden have had their most private financial information hacked and then posted. here's abc justice correspondent pierre thomas. >> reporter: kim kardashian has
made a living by putting her entire life in public view. for someone so exposed a website may have given too much information, specifically her credit report. she declined comment. she was one of more than a dozen celebrities and government officials targeted in one of the highest profile privacy breaches in history. personal financial details on display for all the world to see. from jay-z and britney spears to first lady michelle obama and hillary clinton. they're all apparent victims of what is known as a doxing attack. it involves gathering private documents and posting them on the internet. even the most protected people on the internet allegedly hit. vice president biden, attorney eric holder, even fbi director robert mueller. in an exclusive interview with abc's george ste, he wouldn't s whether it was authentic but confirm authorities are trying to figure out what happened.
>> we should not be surprised if you have hackers who want to dig in and devote a lot of resources, that they can access people's private information. it is a big problem. >> right into the white house. >> i'm not confirming that's what happened. but you've got websites out there that sell people's credit cards that have been stolen. >> reporter: the secret service and fbi have launched full scale investigations. they're trying to determine if the information is authentic, how it was accessed and ultimately, who was responsible for posting it. sources tell abc news, some of the posted information appears to be accurate and would not be widely available to the public. credit reports may include social security numbers and typically provide financial information about people's debts. >> when someone has your credit report, what kind of bad things can they do in. >> they can masquerade as you. if they have your credit report, they can take your identity. >> if you're the first lady, the
vice president, secretary of state, this would not be good news if this is legit. >> this is terrible news to have this information out there. >> tonight equifax, a credit reporting agency confirmed that fraudulent and unauthorized access occurred involving five high profile people. l.a. police chief charlie beck was also targeted. >> if we find individuals and i'm comfortable we will, we will prosecute them. >> reporter: other celebrities include entertainers and politicians. hulk hogan, ashton kutcher, sarah palin and al gore. it appears to have originated in russia. but sources say the attack could have been launched from anywhere. that it will take a long time to rack the digital trail. it can happen to anyone. millions of americans are vulnerable with thousands having their private financial information compromised each year. but increasingly, hollywood's eli elea elite are becoming the targets.
for years, very compromising photos of scarlet johansson, christina aguilera leaked on to the web. the fbi arrested this man. christopher cheney in florida. and charged him with 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access to a computer and wiretapping. just yesterday a 12-year-old boy admitted to charges that he targeted ashton koocher and justin beebe we are an elaborate form called swatting. it is when someone manipulates phone equipment to make a 911 call luring police to mobilize s.w.a.t. teams. these hackers make it look like the call are coming from the victims themselves. this 911 call launched an eight-man s.w.a.t. team to this could have springs house. inside, a teenage girl and father, bound and in critical danger, or so they thought. >> i've got two people here held hostage, all right? >> okay. >> you know what happens to people health hostage. >> reporter: it all turned out
to be a home that one of hundreds of cases each year of cyber criminals hacking into phone lines and placing 911 calls. this was the massive response when ashton kutcher was the victim. >> primarily s.w.a.t. because they want to watch the thrill of it. it is a power thing. >> reporter: justin bieber was swatted just one week after kutcher. in a separate case, the lapd got a call that a kidnapping was in effect from miley cyrus' house. it was all a hoax and she wasn't even at home. dirty tricks done remotely online. for "nightline," pierre thomas in washington. coming up, we go up, up and away to check out the exciting world of competitive paragliding. license and registration please. what's this? uhh, it's my geico insurance id card, sir. it's digital, uh, pretty cool right? maybe. you know why i pulled you over today?
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sets more than others. and others will grow up to be paragliders. the world cup of paragliding was recently held over a soccer stadium in colombia. to better understand these birds of a different feather, abc's ginger zee took flight. >> reporter: this is what it feels like when you fall from the sky. >> are you all right? >> reporter: for these competitors in this high-flying sport, it is much more graceful. in this instance, met with exuberance here. this is paragliding world cup super final. thousands of feet above the colombian andes, each of those bird-like wings, has one of the top paragliders in the world danging beneath. and one has me.
this is not my first run off the mountain but it is the first time i'll get inside the world's fiercest paragliding competition. >> do you have a strong stomach for roller coasters? >> for roller coasters, sure. >> reporter: but before we get there, let's start the journey on terra firma. we're sitting on the top of a van on top of a bunch of paragliders and the swiss team was nice enough to give us a ride. >> reporter: at the top, there is a final hike. many of them lug their packs. others are happy for a little help. i have to take a break. around 90% of those competing are men so i wanted to embed with one of the top women from the state. >> most people give up all other parts of life to compete at this level. you have to really dedicate your whole life to it. i started flying when i was 19 years old. it is all i've ever done. most people think we're crazy. but our inner family is very tight. >> reporter: part of that tight
family, my flyer for the day. a veteran pilot from the u.s. >> we're going to have some fun. >> reporter: have you flown in colombia before? >> no. this is both of our maiden voing. >> reporter: anything different here than other places? >> spanish. >> and you touch the clouds a lot here which is really fun. >> reporter: i'm looking forward to that. they're rested and they asked for more, about 80 miles and very difficult. they're the best in the world and they'll fly this virtual course in just unfour hours. without ever touching back down and without any thrust or support from an engine. >> something longer and harder. the longer and heard you have -- you can always pull out. >> reporter: it is hard to believe in such a journey until you see the pilots harnessing the energy in our atmosphere. >> there are already dozens right above us. >> reporter: there wasn't much time to wonder or worry.
i had to get ready to launch. looking up. once we were heels up, we don't just rocket into the sky. we have to find solar fuel and that search starts really close to the mountain side. to gain altitude, we ride the thermals or columns of air billowing from the sun soaked air beneath. as soon as we find that lift, other pilots start to swarm around us. soon after that -- we're in the clouds. a meteorologist's dream. surrounded by 150 paragliders, this is called the launch gaggle. kind of like the starting line of a marathon when everyone is stretching but here, they're feeling out the air. then the race begins. the bee hive of swirling wind takes off at up to 50 miles per hour. within minutes, the once
bustling sky is em. they hours later, we catch up by bus with those that made it to the finish. this is their task goal. and only about 50 or so will make it. among them, americans matt and eric. >> i did make it. a little bit slow. kind of mid race. right with the leaders. and i had a little fall back there. >> just a momentary lapse in the tension is when you miss the climb. you miss the bird. you go straight instead of turning left. it is an incredible game. we get hooked on it. it is such a fascinating game. >> reporter: a lot of people dropped out. they drop out. >> when you land mid course, it can be a lot more of an adventure. >> reporter: speaking of landing mid course, that's how our adventure ended a little earlier. our landing was awesome. but i wanted that. so we flew and landed again.
and this time, we had a little cheering section of our own. it is not enough to join the winners but more than enough to always remember the day i touched the clouds. >> thanks to ginger for that ride. time for tonight's closing argument. congressman paul ryan put forth his latest budget proposal with a ban to balance the nation's books in a decade by scrapping the affordable care act. aka obama care. slashing medicaid and medicare. he has challenged president obama to put rth to his own proposal. but the president said that he has other priorities. >> my goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance. my goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work. if we do that, we'll be bringing in more revenue. if we've controlled spending and we've got a smart titlement package, then potentially what you have is balance. but it is not ballot backs of
the poor, the elderly, the students who need student loans, families who got disabled kids. >> what do you think? how important is a balanced budget in the near term? in the next decade when it comes to the health of the economy? you can weigh in on the "nightline" page. hope you check out gma. more of the president's interview in the morning. see you tomorrow.