Celebrity Vulnerability – Man Accused of Hacking Stars’ Emails, Stealing Private Info and Explicit Material
In a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, December 22, 2015, top New York prosecutor Peeta Bharara accused a 23-year-old Bahaman native of hacking into the email addresses of professional athletes, actresses, and celebrities, stealing personal identification information and private sexual material and then attempting to sell the illegally-obtained items for a quick buck. The defendant, Alonzo Knowles, has been charged with copyright infringement and identity theft, and was arrested early last week in New York after trying to fence the stolen items to an undercover agent.
Knowles, who also goes by the alias “Jeff Moxey,” is accused of hacking into the email accounts of at least three professional athletes and one confirmed actress, but others are believed to have been accessed as well. The complaint states that Knowles stole sex tapes, Social Security numbers, and other personal identification information, and the scripts for upcoming television shows and movies that have yet to have been released to the public. Knowles had offered the stolen content to an unnamed radio host who then turned him over to the proper authorities and set him up with the undercover agent.
According to the prosecutor, Knowles told the undercover agent that he used two methods for hacking the celebrity accounts. The first method included putting a virus onto the celebrities’ computers, which would then allow him to control the email accounts as he wanted. The second method involved sending the victims’ an email explaining their account had been hacked and that they needed to enter their pass codes to confirm their identity, which they would do, giving Knowles unfettered access to their accounts. Knowles told the undercover agent that he would frequently target friends of the intended victims, which would then allow him to get access to the celebrities’ contact information.
No time frame is yet available regarding the case, and authorities have not released the names of any of Knowles’ victims. It is believed, however, that Knowles has hacked into the private lives of a large number more celebrities and athletes, as he showed the undercover agent a list of more than one hundred named individuals that he claimed to have access to.