Every time I hear about a young actress getting her phone hacked and her personal photos leaked all over the Interwebs, I immediately think one thing: People are still doing this?
Many of you may remember in the summer of 2014 when hackers went on iCloud, illegally raided the accounts of many attractive ingénues and posted their most intimate selfies online. Some called it “Celebgate.” Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kaley Cuoco, Kirsten Dunst – these were just a few of the women who unfortunately had their business put out on the streets (in this case, the streets being image-sharing sites like 4chan and Reddit).
Eventually, the FBI entered the picture and began hunting down the parties responsible. A year ago this month, Ryan Collins of Lancaster, Pa., was sentenced to an 18-month prison stint for hacking the accounts of Lawrence and others. And earlier this year, Edward Majerczyk of Chicago was sentenced to nine months for his celebrity-hacking. Both of those sentences are walks in the park compared with the 10-year sentence Jacksonville resident Christopher Chaney got in 2012 for breaking into the accounts of Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis and others.
And, still, even with these guys in jail for invading people’s privacy, famous women are still getting their photos leaked. Exactly a year after Collins’ sentencing, private photos of actresses Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried hit the sites 4chan, Reddit and Celeb Jihad. (Watson’s spokesperson said the photos that were lifted from her “are not nude photographs” and “from a clothes fitting Emma had with a stylist a couple of years ago.”) But they weren’t the only ones: actress/filmmaker Rose McGowan, WWE star Paige and Zac Efron’s ex Sami Miro also had their photos jacked. According to a piece in The Hacker News, these unknown hackers have said on 4chan that more photos featuring more starlets will be coming soon.
Seriously, didn’t these guys (let’s face it – they have to be male) take in what happened the last time hackers put famous women on blast? When you straight-up violate successful people online, especially women, chances are the FBI is ultimately gonna track you down. I don’t know if these new hackers are doing this as tribute/retaliation for their incarcerated comrade Collins. But they’re very likely going to end up in jail right along with him.
Maybe it’s because I’ve never wanted to embarrass or humiliate a woman I’ve never met, but the continuous need to illegally post a woman’s nekkid photos online baffles me. What makes men want to take that chance? Before he got locked up, Chaney said in a TV interview he became addicted to spying on celebs, saying: “I was almost relieved months ago when they came in and took the computer and told me what was going on because I didn’t know how to stop doing it myself.”
There are those who do it to get back at said celeb. Take the case of actress Mischa Barton, who just had to obtain a cease and desist order against an ex-boyfriend who was reportedly shopping around a sex tape featuring her to pornographic websites. This is what’s known in the biz as “revenge porn.”
These leaks only remind people that the internet can be a dangerous, misogynistic place.
I assume the authorities will go after these hackers and make them pay for their cruel creepiness. But, hopefully, this will also remind women to learn more (look up “phishing emails,” for one) about keeping their personal info private..