Beware the x-rated phone hackers

Posted by David Konow

There are currently a number of stories in the news about celebrities who had their private pictures and x-rated home movies stolen by hackers.

In fact, the news just broke that one creepy phone hacker who got into Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and Mila Kunis’s phones was sentenced to ten years. 

The hacker, a 36 year old named Christopher Chaney, pleaded guilty to nine felony counts, which included identity theft, wiretapping, unauthorized access and damage to a computer, and much more.

He’s also been fined $76,000 in restitution, and faces 121 years in jail because he hacked into the e-mail accounts of some 50 people.

It is indeed disturbing that someone would be that obsessed with a celebrity that they would go to such lengths to invade their privacy. It’s one thing when a sex tape gets out, and you often get the feeling that in many cases, the people that make those tapes aren’t as cautious as they should be with them. (This was certainly true in the rock n roll world). But hacking someone’s phone for private pictures is definitely a new level of creepy, as well as inevitable in today’s day and age.
While it may not be the brightest idea to make pictures that compromising on your iPhone, there are ways you can protect yourself. Some time back, The Hollywood Reporter did a story on this that offered advice to celebrities and regular folks alike about protecting their private pics and home movies.
As Daniel A. Saunders, a lawyer, explained to the Reporter, the best steps for celebrities are “Mount a Media Strategy,” “Explore Legal Remedies,” “Be Smart With Smartphones,” and “Bring In Professionals.”

Quite a bit of this is common sense, and most of it applies to celebrities, but as Saunders further explains, it’s easy to compromise a smartphone.

So “protect your phone with the longest possible password or PIN,” and don’t give your handset to others.  

If you are a celebrity, don’t pretend the photos aren’t authentic, and don’t talk to the media. As far as what kind of legal sanctions you could face, “the ultimate sanction of criminal proceedings can be pursued in state or federal court,” and you could possibly go to federal prison for several years.
Of course, it goes without saying to “use secure passwords,” and don’t take stuff from your personal life, because fans can figure it out. Not to mention make sure you don’t use the same passwords for everything.

So again, if you’re tempted to take naughty photos, please be careful, and protect yourself as best as you can, because unlike burning a Polaroid or destroying a videotape, anything you have on an iPhone is harder to pull back in from cyberspace.