In the age of the internet, celebrity hacks seem almost commonplace. Whether it's a batch of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence or Scarlett Johansson, or it's private emails taken from the inbox of Sarah Palin, we've come to expect frequent swarms of stolen internet goods.
But the art of breaking into digital accounts dates back much further than you'd think. The Trojan horse, social engineering and other methods of getting into a phone, network, account or computer seem to go back to the days of, well, the original Trojan horse. And yet with each new hack, a new scandal ensues.
Here is our comprehensive list of the most memorable celebrity hacks. Learn from these security nightmares as best you can.
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There were few things grosser than the flood of celebrity nude images in August 2014 that came to be known as "The Fappening," a name with dubious connotations. Among the most famous victims were Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst, whose nude photos were widely leaked onto 4chan, Reddit and eventually into mainstream media. Dozens more women (and a couple of men) were also involved, not all of whom confirmed the images were of them.
Ryan Collins, one of two masterminds responsible for breaking into the Apple accounts of about 100 people (mostly female celebrities), was sentenced to 18 months in prison in October 2016. Hopefully, Collins' apprehension will prevent others from seeking out celebrity nudes.
How to Avoid This: Enable two-factor authentication on your iCloud account.
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In 2011, a few nude photos of actress Scarlett Johansson — which she said were meant for then-husband Ryan Reynolds — were leaked to the internet. Investigators quickly traced the leak to Chris Chaney, a 35-year-old hacker from Jacksonville, Florida, who later went to prison for 10 years for illegally accessing the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry.
How to Avoid: Set up two-factor authentication on all your email accounts.
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Actress and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones had her personal website hacked into in August 2016, resulting in the theft and public release of her driver's license, her passport and some nude photos. A month earlier, after the release of the Ghostbusters remake, Jones had become a target for racist online harassment, particularly via Twitter.
The abuse became so overwhelming that Jones temporarily quit using social media. As a result, Twitter permanently banned Milo Yiannopoulos, a provocative writer whose Twitter followers had been particularly brutal in harassing Jones. Jones later came back online, tweeting in September, "I ALWAYS GET BACK UP!"
How to Avoid: Unknown. It's not clear how Jones' website was broken into.
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One of the first major hacks that violated a female celebrity's privacy was committed by a group of sneaky teen hackers. In 2005, young heiress Paris Hilton's T-Mobile account was broken into using "social engineering" — tricking people into breaching security protocols or turning over confidential information. In the case of The Simple Life reality star, this involved a simple phone call. The kids reportedly manipulated a T-Mobile employee into giving them access to a site that listed customer telephone numbers.
Because the hackers had already learned how to reset the password on any T-Mobile account if they knew the phone number, they locked Hilton out of her phone and T-Mobile account and accessed all of her texts, video and photos — including several nude images. They also took a break to prank-call actor Laurence Fishburne (of The Matrix fame) because, you know, why not?
How to Avoid: You can't. Dumb employees will always make dumb mistakes.
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Miley Cyrus' MySpace and Google accounts were broken into by teenage hacker Josh Holly, who tricked a MySpace employee into granting access to a list of account passwords. Holly found that Cyrus' MySpace password also worked for her Gmail account, in which he found provocative photos she had sent to Nick Jonas.
Holly put the photos online and bragged about never getting caught — which led to the FBI raiding his home. (In 2011, he pleaded guilty to credit-card fraud and breaking into other MySpace accounts.) Good thing we all collectively deleted any provocative duckface selfies and embarrassing "im bored rawr XD" status updates years ago...right?
How to Avoid: Set up two-factor authentication on your Google account. Delete your MySpace account.
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
In September 2008, then-Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's Yahoo account was broken into when a 20-year-old man found that Palin had made her own birth date the answer to a password-reset question. The man, who later went to prison for the break-in, posted screenshots of Palin's emails to WikiLeaks. The hack revealed Palin's family photos and evidence that she may have used her personal email account to conduct official business.
How to Avoid: Make up weird answers to password-reset "security questions" that no one else can learn or guess.
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Back in 2010, a German teenager and a 23-year-old accomplice allegedly hacked into computers owned by Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson and Ke$ha, using malware to steal the artists' unfinished songs. The hackers then sold the songs online for more than $10,000. But rather than remain silent or brag about the feat, the teenager penned a strangely sweet and very remorseful apology to a German paper, explaining that he "never thought it would go so far."
How to Avoid: Use antivirus software to stop malware, even if you're on a Mac.
Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images