The newest hacker gang isn't after credit card numbers or classified NATO documents. Their game is blockbuster scripts, verified Twitter accounts and nude cell phone snapshots. Harden your passwords, glitterati: Hollywood Leaks will use any means necessary to bust open the entertainment industry.
Hollywood Leaks has been quietly breaking into entertainment industry insiders' email accounts for the last few weeks and leaking what they find there. They cracked the email account of an actor in the upcoming Tom Cruise musical, Rock of Ages and were surprised to find that the film's director, Peter Shankman, had sent the script around to his cast via email. They downloaded it, then put it on the Pirate Bay. They've posted the cell phone numbers of about a dozen celebrities to the hacker-friendly document sharing site Pastebin.com, including Miley Cyrus, Lil Jon, and Ashley Greene.
I called N'Sync's Joey Fatone last Friday and got his voicemail. It was really him. You can listen to it on your left. (Alas, Miley Cyrus' phone number didn't work.)
Hollywood Leaks say they're an offshoot of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, even appropriating their tag line "We never forgive, We Never forget." Like Anonymous, they're a loose-knit band of internet troublemakers—probably no more than five or six core members—who organize in raucous chat rooms and promote their hacks on their Twitter account. But where Anonymous is super seriously concerned with world politics and the Church of Scientology, Hollywood Leaks just wants to make celebs sweat.
"We're simply here to facilitate the free flow of information from a place which was previously over looked, Hollywood," a Hollywood Leaks representative told us in an email. Wikileaks to the Stars, sort of.
During Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, the rapper Kreayshawn found out the hard way what freedom of information means to Hollywood Leaks. As she sat in the audience at the awards, Hollywood Leaks was taking over her Twitter account, using it to tweet nude pictures stolen from her cell phone to her 300,000 followers. Kreayshawn took to Tumblr soon after: "My twitter got hacked today by some anti-Hollywood extremists. They sent out wack ass tweets and promoted their odd message of anti-jew stuff and deleted my twitter."
Kreayshawn claims the picture were taken when she was underaged. Not so, said a Hollywood Leaks hacker today. He claimed she took the pictures in 2009, when she was 20, and sent them to rapper Lil B, whom she's worked with before.
In a chat today, two Hollywood Leaks members named IAMDGKZ1 and dapper weren't clear as to why they targeted Kreayshawn. They certainly aren't fans of her music.
"The beat… is good, but her voice induces nausea," said IAMDGKZ1, a self-identified "hip hop nerd". Dapper is not a rap fan and got racist about it.
"Rap is for n*ggers," he said. "The cia made it so theyd kill each other." IAMDGKZ1 laughed him off.
"lol dapper is our joe biden, saying off the wall shit all the time."
Most importantly, with a hack timed to the VMAs and crowd-pleasing nude pics, Hollywood Leaks hoped to build their brand.
"The important thing… is the timing, and the attention," said Dapper. "It's a launchboard."
Hollywood Leaks members say they're just getting started. "We're currently sitting on several unreleased movie scripts, and enough numbers / emails to keep phones ringing and the inboxes full for the foreseeable future." In our chat today, IAMDGKZ1 hinted that an upcoming leak will target a well-known movie director.
Hackers have been targeting celebrities since before the first verified Twitter account twinkled to life. But Hollywood Leaks should send celebs scrambling to enable dual factor authentication on their Gmail accounts. It's not that IAMDGKZ1 and his buddies are particularly skilled—they say they've broken into accounts mostly by guessing bad security questions. The real deadliness is the urge is to publicize everything they find for maximum effect, like an even less-ethical TMZ.