And the Oscar Goes to …. Hollywood Cybersecurity Horror Story


The 89th Academy Awards, the Oscars, Hollywood’s biggest night. Awards are given out in a swath of categories including the rarely mentioned Best Live Action Short Film and Best Production Design. In the running for this year’s best picture are critically-acclaimed La La Land and Hidden Figures

However, lurking in the shadows is another best picture contender: Hollywood Cybersecurity Horror Story.

Celebrities are often the focus of cybersecurity incidents. The Celebgate scandal is a prime example of these risks. A hacker was sentenced last year to 18 months in prison for breaking into Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. e-mail accounts of more than 100 people, including Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence. Prosecutors said Collins used a sophisticated phishing scheme to obtain Apple and Google e-mail passwords and, ultimately, nude photographs and videos. There were more than 600 total victims, including many members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, according to prosecutors.

But these kinds of attacks aren’t limited to just celebrities, according to Robert Kang, co-chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and senior cybersecurity and regulatory compliance attorney at energy company Southern California Edison. Much like Celebgate, consumers are also at risk to phishing schemes. Consumers need to make sure that they don’t click on links in e-mails without verifying the sender, he said in an e-mail. Also, they should never provide personal information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers and addresses through e-mail even when verified, Kang said.

Other big events, including the Olympics and the Super Bowl, also carry heightened cybersecurity risks. Japan has already focused on cybersecurity preparations for at least three years in anticipation of the 2020 Olympics. The 2017 Super Bowl, despite concerns from cybersecurity researchers, went off without a hitch—except for Atlanta Falcons fans.  

And if cybersecurity horror stories isn’t your favorite genre, IBM Corp. and its supercomputer Watson have the just the thing for you. Watson, the famous supercomputer that dominated “Jeopardy,” has leveraged big data to predict the winner of the Oscars main award—best picture. IBM Watson used their Personality Insights algorithm on past Academy Award winning scripts and compared the personality profile against this year’s nominated movies.


Watson’s pick for best picture is Mel Gibson’s wartime flick Hacksaw Ridge. If that flick wins, ardent fans of Hollywood darlings La La Land and Hidden Figures can perhaps blame big data.  

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