When nudie pics and videos were released of the once goody-goody "High School Music" star Vanessa Hudgens, fans worldwide were shocked and amazed. The source? A hacked Gmail account.
Hudgens swears that she and around 50 other celebrities were targeted by a gang of online hackers.
Not taking the leaked photos lightly, Hudgens and many of the other celebrities targeted like Scarlett Johansson, have met with law enforcement FBI agents to discuss the crimes.
Hackers often target high profile people or institutions for personal profit.
Think of it in the context of robbery; a thief could potentially make more by robbing a bank or celebrity rather than stealing Joe Shmoe’s wallet on the corner of 34th Street. The same goes for targeting a celebrity’s personal email or phone.
Just last year, a twosome of hackers broke into over 50 pop stars personal accounts like Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, and Justin Timberlake. Prosecutors believed the hackers infected computers with malware in order to steal credit card details, private pictures, emails and unreleased songs.
With the sheer amount of celebrities targeted, this highlights two important things: one, celebrities are as vulnerable as the rest of us and two, they have just as crappy computer security.
As such, Sophos Security researcher Graham Cluley recommends generating hard-to-crack passwords, creating more difficult "secret questions" for bank/email accounts and altering default PIN voicemail codes.