More than ever, celebrities have become the target of cyberbullying and hacking attempts. Several famous victims have fallen prey to this online invasion of privacy, including Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Lana del Rey. Most recently, a Romanian hacker and cyber-criminal known as SW4YLOL has successfully leaked explicit content from their accounts.
The cybercriminal managed to infiltrate Lana Del Rey’s Twitter account. He then published racist and obscene content from her account, in an attempt to make it look as if the singer was the one tweeting. On May 30th, 2016, Katy Perry experienced a similar attack, when offensive tweets directed at Taylor Swift were sent out. Taylor Swift herself has also been previously targeted by the hacker. The hacker tagged celebrities Swift, Perry, and Justin Bieber in a series of lewd messages. The hacker further alluded to the existence of a Kylie Jenner – Tyga sex tape.
Celebrities make for popular high-profile targets among a growing pool of hackers. Over the past five years, the cyberspace witnessed widespread leakage of explicit photos belonging to A-list celebrities. The phenomenon, dubbed ‘the fappening’ or ‘celebgate’ by some, indicates a larger cyber-safety concern affecting us all.
Why It Might Be A Good Thing
Obviously, it’s an inherently bad thing that celebrities’ privacy was invaded like that – but the high-profile hacks have helped bring serious public attention to a widespread issue. And as the issue has come to public attention, stronger legal measures have been put in place. Recently, George Garofano, 26, was convicted of a violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The hacker admitted to illegally obtaining iCloud credentials from his victims and stealing sensitive material.
Cyberbullying, identity fraud, and hacking are serious security issues that could affect us all. And perhaps thanks to the massive celeb leaks, these issues have been getting the attention they deserve. Cybersecurity protection requires the collaboration of government agencies, web corporations, and security firms.
Several laws have been put in place in the United States, aimed at protecting internet users against internet threats:
- The CAN-SPAM Act establishes the rights of an individual to ask a site to stop emailing them
- The USA-Patriot Act deters and punishes cyber terrorism acts
- The Gramm-Leach-Billey Act requires financial institutions to transparently relay their information-handling practices to customers
- The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998
- The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
In addition to government legislation, the work of cybersecurity firms helps keep us safe. Advanced protection systems help detect and remove vulnerabilities and malware. A practice known as penetration testing assesses the safety of a computer system, web app or network. Appropriate protection solutions are then provided to prevent any cyberattacks.