What the HACK Is Going On?

March 12th, 2013

(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

By Jake Rohn

Yesterday, TMZ reported that a dozen or so celebrities, including Jay-Z and Beyoncé, were hacked, exposing their financial information. Today, it has been reported that Michelle Obama was hacked in a manner that suggested hers was more personal. The website that posted all of this private information made it personal with the first lady, adding the caption “blame your husband, we still love you, Michelle.” to go along with her private information, which included her Social Security number, phone numbers, credit card info and even banking and mortgage details.

In recent years, paparazzi have already proven a real threat to public figures worldwide, showing that they are not afraid to do daredevil-like stunts and even risk their own lives (one was killed back in January trying to photograph Justin Bieber’s car being pulled over), but this new type of privacy violation looks to make being famous an even tougher task. In the past, celebrity hacking was only slightly more harmful than prank phone calls, with the worst outcome being nude photos and false statements. After today, however, that notion will most certainly change, because whoever hacked this recent group of celebrities ascertained enough information to potentially withdraw cash using their information. And, in an extreme show of confidence, they even hacked Robert Mueller, the FBI Director.

Reality television, or as it has come to be known lately, “Reality? Television,” creates the illusion that you are delving deep into the lives of famous people, but many have been exposed as quasi-scripted narratives with edited dialogue. What makes hacking unique as far as the crime and punishment dynamic is that the criminals and the people trying to catch the criminals often go back and forth in a “who’s smarter?” battle that seems to constantly shift. With other crimes that pose a threat to someone’s well-being the goal is to find and incarcerate, but often with cyber crimes the goal is to find, punish and then hire the perpetrator to help catch others that are doing the same thing.

So, will public figures ever really enjoy even the slightest modicum of privacy? It’s possible, but just like with any terrorist attack, people will most assuredly be looking over their shoulder more than ever. Like any criminal, hackers are constantly evolving and finding new ways to unearth the most sacred and intimate parts of people’s lives as their way of making their mark. Whether or not this person is caught, celebrities will most certainly look to step up their cyber-security. The FBI has already asked celebrities to lock up their personal info. And with the secrets that dwell in Hollywood’s underbelly, a lot of people are waking up today and realizing that they have a lot to be exposed and the market is always open.

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