Following the unsettling news of massive data breaches from Tumblr, MySpace, LinkedIn, and now Twitter, many people are feeling insecure on the internet. But nobody is more scared these days than famous musicians, who have allegedly been the subject of an ongoing series of Twitter-based attacks from one particularly worrisome basement-dweller and his online friends.
J5Z, an internet troll, has claimed hacks on George Harrison (who he didn’t know was deceased), Tame Impala, Keith Richards, Bon Iver, Nick Warren, and Cody Simpson, among others — and says friends are responsible for the other hacks. Now, in a bizarre turn of events, the alleged hacker is saying that the attacks are meant to raise awareness for internet security.
Problems for musicians started on May 30, when pop superstar Katy Perry’s 89 million followers began receiving a series of seriously disparaging tweets. Those attacks were followed by hacks on accounts owned by indie rockers like Lana Del Rey and Tame Impala, before moving to bigger names like Drake and Keith Richards.
“It’s famous musicians and artists at risk. If you’re a celebrity, you should change your password immediately,” the user told The Daily Beast. “Literally everyone should just create a new email, think of a new password, and do it for every account.”
It appears Katy Perry’s Twitter — with her more than 89 million followers — has been hacked… pic.twitter.com/VmTVKJYGqj
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) May 31, 2016
Though some seriously inflammatory remarks have been made on accounts which J5Z claims to have hacked — in particular, a series of bomb threats issued via Tame Impala’s account, the user claims to have nothing do with those particular tweets, saying that he or she is out to help, not hurt people. That’s an odd claim for someone who is deliberately hacking people.
“At first I did this for fun, but I never wanted to do this to ruin people’s careers,” the user says. “I’m just doing it to prevent that from ever happening in case someone who knows how to do it comes along and possibly does some damage. I don’t want to be seen as a bad person, even though I’m most likely being seen like that already.”
Despite claims of altruism, the hacker also gave another reason for co-opting famous people’s accounts. “I have no friends irl that’s why I hack people lol,” J5Z wrote.
J53, in many ways, is the perfect example of the perils of the digital era. A world where even the most prominent people can be taken down by a self-proclaimed friendless member of the online community. “The method is simple, yes. Anyone can do it,” J5Z said. “It’s just they don’t know how to.”