A 23-year-old Bahamian man has been arrested and charged for hacking into the email accounts of some 130 celebrities and stealing unreleased movie scripts, sex tapes, explicit images and even an upcoming album from a famous A-list celebrity.
Alonzo Knowles, the hacker in question, initially reached out to a famous radio host hoping to sell the “full scripts of episodes 1-6” of an upcoming season of a “popular drama” currently being filmed, the hacker said in an email.
The unnamed radio host quietly alerted Homeland Security who then began to craft a sting operation to catch the hacker. Agents had the radio host respond to the hackers email where they directed communications to an undercover agent posing as the interested radio host.
Knowles had a trove of stolen information for a number of top celebrities including:
- Full scripts for three comedy films
- A television show with popular hip-hop artist
- Several full length shows for various unreleased movies and TV shows
- Social security numbers
- Phone numbers
- Unreleased music
- Private sex tapes featuring celebrities
Knowles was arrested earlier last week in Manhattan, New York, after flying in from the Bahamas in hopes of meeting up with the radio host. During their email exchange, Knowles and the undercover agent agreed to sell the host various movie and TV shows scripts alongside the social security numbers of various movies actresses and two athletes for a total of $80,000.
Alongside the trove of information Knowles bragged he had, he even sent the undercover agent celebrities sex tapes, stating it’s just a “sample of things [he] can get” his hands on.
Now the real question is how did Knowles get his hands on such a valuable trove of celebrity information? Shockingly, the incident is entirely unrelated to last years huge nude celebrity photo leak, aka “The Fappening.”
According to a court document posted by the New York Times, Knowles said he was able to break into the accounts by hacking the friends and family members emails of those close to the celebrities. From there, he was able to social engineer accounts and send malware to dozens of unsuspecting victims.
Apart from dozens of social engineering scams and sending malware to unsuspecting victims, Knowles also setup a number of phishing scams where he would send fake automated text messages to celebrities phones, making it look like their accounts had been hacked. Among information it requested was their current password to secure their account.
In a federal criminal complaint filed against Knowles, his list of unnamed victims included movie and TV actors, music artists, a casting director, and a hip-hop artists, all who have gone unnamed this far into the investigation.
Knowles is currently being held without bail after appearing in court last week on charges related to criminal copyright infringement and identity theft charges, both which have a maximum penalty of 5 years.