Hacker Claims He Used Celeb E-mail, MySpace Accounts to Send Spam

Josh Holly says he hacked the e-mail accounts of Miley Cyrus, Seth Rogen.

ByABC News
February 24, 2009, 2:44 PM

Feb. 25, 2009— -- A teenager who claims he hacked the e-mail and MySpace accounts of Miley Cyrus earned more than $100,000 by accessing other celebrity accounts and using them to send spam, according to an FBI affidavit.

Josh Holly, 19, told the FBI that he hacked numerous celebrity MySpace and e-mail accounts, according to a search warrant affidavit, which was first reported by WTVF Channel 5 in Nashville, Tenn.

The FBI searched Holly's apartment in October 2008 and seized several computers and an iPhone as part of an investigation into the hacking of Cyrus' e-mail account.

Holly told ABC News that he was the one who took racy personal photos of Cyrus from her e-mail account and posted them on the Internet last year, which caused a minor scandal for the previously squeaky-clean teen star.

The newly filed search warrant affidavit sought permission to perform a forensic search of the computers. In the affidavit, the FBI says Holly made $110,000 between November 2007 and July 2008 from sending spam through hacked accounts.

Holly told ABC News that he split the money with an associate who helped him send the spam. He said he sent ads to fans on celebrity MySpace pages and was paid per person who responded to the ads.

The court documents do not say which celebrities Holly targeted, but Holly said he accessed the MySpace pages of artists, such as Rihanna, Fall Out Boy and Linkin Park, and accessed personal e-mail accounts for Seth Rogen, the star of the movie "Knocked Up."

Holly has not been charged with a crime. The agent investigating the case did not return a call for comment. An FBI spokesman declined to comment other than to say Holly was the subject of an ongoing investigation regarding Cyrus' e-mail account.

"They have all the evidence they need," Holly said.

Press representatives for Cyrus, Rogen, Linkin Park and Fall Out Boy did not return calls seeking comment.

Holly said he was able to access Cyrus' account by hacking MySpace's administrative panel to learn the teen star's MySpace user name and password. He said Cyrus used the same password for her e-mail account.

According to the affidavit, Holly also admitted to the FBI that he had been spamming since 2005. He claimed he used celebrity accounts because they generated high volume traffic, according to the affidavit.

Holly said he hacked the accounts both out of curiosity and for money.

"One, let me see if I can get into the inboxes of celebrities," he said. "Also, I could put an advertisement here and get money."

According to the affidavit, Holly communicated over the course of several months last year with MySpace's head of security about "system weaknesses and potential intrusions" and explained how he had accessed Cyrus' account.

Hacker: Might Go to Prison

In exchange for that information, Holly asked to have his MySpace account, which had been suspended for "suspicious or inappropriate behavior," reactivated, according to the affidavit.

Holly said he is now sending spam "here and there," but mostly "trying my best to get a regular job."

"I might not even have a future now, or I might even go to prison, over something REALLY REALLY stupid," Holly wrote on one of his Web sites.

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