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Man Who Hacked 100s of Celebrity Email Accounts, Stealing Scripts and Sex Tapes, Arrested
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Alonza Knowles arrested

Summary: A man charged with hacking celebrity email accounts and computers, stealing scripts and sex tapes.

In today’s high tech world, stealing private information becomes more insidious. A Bahamas-based hacker has accessed email accounts of 130 celebrities, managing to secure not only their email addresses and phone numbers, but also a list of social security numbers, 30 unreleased tracks from an upcoming popular music album, scripts for a popular television show, and even some sex tapes. He was caught when he attempted to sell this to an undercover U.S. Homeland Security agent 15 scripts and the social security of athletes and one actress for $80,000.

  
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Authorities were first alerted to Alonzo Knowles, 23, after he contacted a radio host, attempting to sell several of his items. That host contacted the executive producer involved with one of the stolen television scripts, who in turn contacted the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security arranged a meeting in December, and Knowles was arrested Monday.

He now faces “one count of felony criminal copyright infringement, which carries a maximum sentence of five years, and one count of identity theft, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.”

The names of the celebrities involved have been withheld.

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To capture the information of these celebrities, he first looked at published photos of high profile celebrities and hacked their friends’ emails. He then secured their emails and would contact them claiming their account have been hacked. For those who gave him a password to avoid being hacked, he gained access to their accounts, and having done so, he would send a virus that gave him access to their hard drive as well. He would also adjust their email settings to give him constant access, as prosecutors explained.

“This case has all the elements of the kind of blockbuster script the defendant, Alonzo Knowles, is alleged to have stolen: hacks into celebrities’ private emails, identify theft, and attempts to sell victims’ information to the highest bidder,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.



“This arrest brings down an alleged email hacking scheme that targeted many individuals including some in the entertainment industry,” said Glenn Sorge, acting special agent in charge of HIS New York. “As cybercrime becomes more pervasive, this operation embodies HIS’s commitment to target those who use the cyber world for illegal financial gain.”

Considering he had obtained 15 movie and television scripts, sex videos of celebrities and entertainment professional, and social security numbers, emails addresses, and phone numbers, it is a chill warning what is possible over the internet.

Source: the Guardian



 

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