Hacking Hollywood’s elite

Up until a few days ago, the most improbable marriage of technology and celebrity pimping that I had ever experienced was Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak’s 2009 debut on Dancing with the Stars. I sat mesmerized by the 58-year old Woz’s attempt to dance with the 31-year old professional dancer, Karina Smirnoff.

Woz suffered through a fractured foot, a pulled hamstring and a combined score of 10 (out of 30) to make it past the first few rounds. I had to give him credit for something, just not sure what it was…

That unusual technology-meets-Hollywood moment, however, has been overshadowed by the announcement by the self-proclaimed hacktivist group, Hollywood Leaks, who have indicated they are now targeting the “Hollywood elite.”

Their video threat proclaims: “Attention Hollywood, we are Anonymous. We have been watching you. We have been listening to you. You have been allowed to run free too long.”

In addition, another YouTube video posted by Hollywood Leaks goes on to say, “The time of Jew-controlled media is over,” perhaps as an attempt to bring justification for the group’s vendetta against Hollywood.

Targeting Hollywood

Hollywood personalities who have already been targeted by Hollywood Leaks include Julianne Hough, who’s racy cell phone pictures were distributed; Miley Cyrus, who’s cellphone numbers were leaked, and rapper Kreayshawn, who had his Twitter account hacked.

Like a younger sibling trying to emulate his older brother, Hollywood Leaks appears to be a very bad and immature parody of the hacktivist group Anonymous; even going so far as to use the same tagline: “We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

Who’s behind Hollywood leaks?

Without being a member of the Hollywood Leaks hacktivist group (in my mind, about as bad as having to watch the Ice Capades twice) I can only speculate, as to who is behind these attacks. However, I think it is reasonable to assume that that Hollywood Leaks is a small group (maybe even just one kid) who downloaded a few hacking tools, watched a few YouTube videos and got lucky with a few hacking attempts.

Another possibility is that the various Hollywood hacks were done by unrelated script kiddies and some kid, looking for his 15 minutes of fame, posted a YouTube video claiming to be the master-mind (hate to even use that phrase here) of the whole lot.

Though these hacking stories have made news recently, the reality is that hundreds of cell phones and Twitter accounts are hacked every day. Celebrities aren’t any better than the rest of us in protecting their cell phones and twitter accounts; just more people are gunning for them and there is more media interest when the hackers’ efforts result in success.

So what do I think about all of this somewhat unexpected clash of technology and Hollywood? The Woz might have been good, but Julianne Hough’s cell phone pictures weren’t even R rated and I speculate that Hollywood Leaks will be history a month from now. Until then, it’s fun to watch the circus.

Alan Wlasuk is a managing partner of 403 Web Security, a full service, secure Web application development company. A Bell Labs Fellow award-winner with 18+ years of experience building secure web applications, Alan is an expert in Web security - from evaluation to Web development and remediation.