The scandal that happened three years ago has reignited after the alleged release of leaked photos from several celebrities. Back in 2014, more than 500 private pictures from more than a dozen celebrities were published by a group of hackers. Emma Watson, Amanda Seyfried, and others are the newest victims of online thieves.
When “Celebgate” happened, a random internet user started a countdown clock that announced that the next celebrity to have their private pictures released would be Harry Potter star, Emma Watson. However, back then, the whole thing was just a prank to try to shut down 4chan, a site famous for distributing leaked photos of celebrities. Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kaley Cuoco and others were victims of the massive picture-leak in that opportunity.
In a speech Watson gave at the U.N. in 2015 concerning gender equality, she spoke about the leaked photos of her fellow actresses and the scandal itself. Watson stated that she always knew the pictures did not exist in the first place. She also said that opposite to what the hackers might have thought, the hoax made her angry and enraged, and gave her more reasons to be speaking for gender equality and to fight for the women’s rights.
Watson’s leaked photos
Even when in 2014, the “Emma Watson you are next” prank seemed harmless. A gallery of pictures of Watson was released Tuesday night, adding her to the huge list of celebrities affected by online hackers.
A set of 12 pictures that match the description gave by Watson’s publicist were published this Tuesday. The actress has not publicly talked about this issue. In 2014, Watson did express her opinion regarding the “Celebgate,” saying that worse than the leak of the photos itself were the “accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy.”
“Photos from a clothes fitting Emma had with a stylist a couple of years ago have been stolen,” her publicist told the the Telegraph. “They are not nude photographs. Lawyers have been instructed, and we are not commenting further.”
Watson was not the only celebrity that had its private pictures leaked this Tuesday. Actress Amanda Seyfried and actor Justin Long were also victims of the attack. Last year, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, was also hacked during the Presidential campaign.
The mechanism most hackers use is very simple, as they send their victims an email where they ask them to put their login details for some technical reason. Then, usernames and passwords are stolen, and hackers have direct access to each celebrity’s cloud storage.
Ryan Collins was the primary responsible for the 2014 massive celebrity leak, and he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Collins used a phishing scheme to obtain the more than 500 photos from the celebrities’ personal accounts in iCloud. In this issue, Watson and Seyfried’s spokespersons have announced that they will start legal mechanisms to find and sentence the responsible for this body of new online crimes.