Many tabloid magazines have sections called, "Celebrities - They're Just Like Us," to show us just how normal celebrities are. They share photos of them ordering Starbucks, gassing up their cars and walking barefoot down the beach. They show us famous Hollywood beauties without an ounce of makeup.
What they don't usually show us, however, is that celebrities really are just like us when it comes to online security. They're vulnerable to the same online scams, and some might say they that they have more to lose in the event they get hacked.
That's what happened to 130 celebrities that were targeted by a 23-year-old hacker from the Bahamas named Alonzo Knowles. The hack was discovered when Knowles reached out to a popular radio show host in New York, offering to sell movie scripts from an unaired show. At first, the radio host thought it was a prank, but then Knowles provided screenshots of scripts from the first 6 episodes.
After discovering that Knowles truly did have access to this information, the radio host reached out to the authorities. He filed a complaint, and worked with the police to connect Knowles with an undercover agent who pretended to be interested in buying the scripts. The sale price was set at $80,000, and arrangements were made for Knowles to fly in to the U.S. for the transaction.
When Knowles arrived in the states, the sting operation was conducted and he was arrested immediately after accepting the payout.