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Once the exclusive headache of major studios and networks like Sony and HBO, the Hollywood hack has turned personal.
On June 13, writer-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, First Reformed) saw a legit-looking email purporting to be from a European Film Festival in his inbox, and bam. “As soon as I opened it up, I knew that I had been hacked,” he tells THR. Immediately, everyone in his contract list began receiving a plea to buy iTunes cards for “the birthday of a little relative of mine.”
Four weeks later producer-director Denise Di Novi (Unforgettable, Focus) sent out a mass email to contacts warning that her IT team had reason to believe that her account was breached and that a virus-infected email was en route. “For your protection, please disregard any future emails from this address,” Di Novi wrote, adding that she was changing her address.
Filmmakers weren’t the only ones hit.
Around the same time Di Novi was scrambling for malware protection, Big Sean’s Twitter account was hacked by someone who promised nude photos of Ariana Grande in exchange for follows on a separate account. Meanwhile, some recipients actually fell for the Schrader hacker’s ruse. “Two of my friends got suckered into paying $1,000. I didn’t realize that I had two dim-witted friends,” he jokes.
A version of this story first appeared in the July 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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