The Hackers Hit Hollywood

A group of hackers affiliated with Anonymous set their sights on celebrities

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A group of hackers affiliated with the group Anonymous, famous for their attacks on prominent companies and governments, have launched a series of incursions into the private data and photographs of some of the nation's most influential and treasured institutions.

We speak, of course, of Tom Cruise and Miley Cyrus.

They are among the targets of Hollywood Leaks, the originators of a wave of celeb-hacking now breaking in Hollywood. Their haul so far: confidential film scripts, celebrity phone numbers, Twitter feeds and behind-the-scenes images from magazine photo spreads.

The privacy invasions have seemingly scared most publicists into silence, CNET says. The move into pure prurience (for prurience's, or LULZ' sake) shows a faction of Anonymous is "branching off from the group's social responsibility mission and getting into the celebrity snooping business," PC World notes.

Doubt the veracity of the information they're posting? Gawker invites you to listen to Joey Fatone's voicemail message. They and other outlets also note the overtones of racism and anti-Semitism that have accompanied the hacks, though in a separate interview, individuals speaking for Hollywood Leaks have declared, not surprisingly, that the invective is part of the prank.

The group was interviewed by The Daily Dot, which focused on the changing focus of the organized hacking, from a professed ethic of protest and civil disobedience to one of gleeful destruction and teasing. Where Anonymous claimed moral high ground in launching attacks on BART police in San Francisco as a response to the agency's shutdown of communications network to foil protesters, that ground will be tougher to locate in justifying the live-tweeting of a singer's naked cell phone pictures, or the disclosure of the script to an upcoming Tom Cruise musical, "Rock of Ages."

(They also note an East Coast break-in: the group has leaked images from an Allure photo shoot, suggesting that the hackers have found a way into Condé Nast's servers.)

From the Daily Dot report:

Anonymous’s BART protests have centered on freedom-of-speech and police-brutality issues. Hollywood Leaks members, on the other hand, insist they have no desire to instigate social change.  

Indeed, their attack on Kreayshawn seems like nothing more than a technically sophisticated yet juvenile form of music criticism. Kreayshawn, the Oakland-based rapper, “as a person makes me mad,” said Dapper. “The other day, tens of thousands of people were laughing with us... and I’d like to think one person cried.”

The three said they’re not scared of being apprehended. “We’re not idiots,” Dapper said.

“We worked hard for several hours to make sure everything was perfect” before and during each hack, said Maverick. 

“There’s an astonishing amount of cybercrime ... pretty much out in the open,” said Dapper. “Millions of dollars of fraud happen every day.” 

The options available to potential targets of these attacks seem limited: tougher passwords, well-curated Twitter feeds. Or perhaps even the extreme option of taking fewer nude self-portraits with their cellphones.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.