Life has gotten a little less simple for Paris Hilton since information from
her ubiquitous T-Mobile Sidekick, including the phone numbers of fellow
glitterati, photos and personal notes, was leaked on the Internet.
Reports started surfacing this weekend that the socialite's stocked PDA had
been hacked into and that the private numbers of her celebrity pals were
falling into the hands of regular folks.
From Hollywood to New York and every other celebrity-infested city in
between, stars like Hilton's real-life sidekick Lindsay Lohan, Christina Aguilera,
Ashlee Simpson, Ashley Olsen, Eminem, Andy Roddick and others have
already changed their numbers. Fred Durst has apparently neglected to change his,
though he has also opted not to take his calls.
When you're as busy as Hilton, it's important to keep a thorough list of
errands, new trends and celebrity whereabouts. Found notes reportedly included
important reminders like these from October 2, 2004: "check from Rick" and "call
Maroon 5." Other curious notes include one from
September 18, 2004, in what appears to be a reference to 55-year-old comedian
Garry Shandling: "call gary shandlin get tape of everything."
"T-Mobile's computer forensics and security team is actively investigating to determine how Ms. Hilton's information was obtained," the company said in a statement. "This includes the possibility that someone had access to one of Ms. Hilton's devices and/or knew her account password."
The company said that given "the sensitivity of the situation," it could not disclose any further details.
Among the first sites to post the information was GorillaMask.net, which
initially copied the hacked pages onto its site but removed them shortly after
being contacted by the Secret Service agent in charge of the T-Mobile
hack/identity theft case.
Still, it only takes a short time for information posted on the Internet to
reach a massive audience. So if you don't qualify for celebrity status, should
you be worried about your private notes and digits being tapped into?
Well, maybe. It turns out that in October 2004, a computer hacker was charged
with illegally accessing T-Mobile's server and using it to monitor U.S.
Secret Service e-mail, get customers' passwords and Social Security numbers, and
download photos taken by Sidekick users including Hollywood celebrities,
according to security information site SecurityFocus.com.
While that individual was stopped, other hackers continue to run rampant in
cyberspace, so it's important for average PDA users to protect themselves.
A T-Mobile spokesperson offered precious insider information on how to
avoid being hacked. Tips include choosing a difficult and complex password, not
giving your password to anyone, not responding to online solicitations for your
password and contacting your service provider if your device is stolen or lost.
Sadly, for some celebrities, this information comes too late. While you have
the opportunity to change your password and delete incriminating photos, the
stars affected by the hacking of Hilton's Sidekick have to decide between
getting angry and having a laugh at their own fabulously famous expense.
After changing their numbers to avoid an unwanted onslaught of phone calls,
stars with a sense of humor can pick up the freshly pressed "Paris Made Me
Change My Number" T-shirt to advertise their A-list status. Now that's hot.