DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Internet, Crime

Miley Cyrus Hacker Still Hacking

Despite FBI probe, Tennessean still up to old online tricks

Miley Cyrus

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Miley Cyrus Hacker Still Hacking

FEBRUARY 25--Undeterred by an FBI probe into his hacking of Miley Cyrus's e-mail account and MySpace page, a Tennessee man continues to engage in other computer intrusions and spamming operations, according to his own admissions.

Joshua Holly, 20, has recently described his ongoing hacking and spamming activities in forums on the Digital Gangster web site, where Holly first distributed racy images of Cyrus he found in her Gmail account. In posts this month, Holly, pictured at right, bragged about hacking Google's new "Buzz" feature, and he previously offered to sell a "bot" that spams Facebook users.

According to this search warrant affidavit, filed last year in U.S. District Court in Nashville, FBI agents have been probing Holly's Cyrus hacks since July 2008. During a raid of his Murfreesboro residence, Holly admitted illegally obtaining data from the pop singer's MySpace account without authorization and detailed his lucrative spamming. Bank records show that he was paid more than $110,000 over one nine-month period for his spamming activity.

Holly told FBI Agent Victor Rodriguez that he gained unauthorized access to "various Internet based accounts and the protected computer systems in and through which they operated" to send out spam mailings. "He often used accounts belonging to celebrities because of the high volume of Internet traffic they attracted," wrote Rodriguez, who added that Holly, during an FBI interview, "identified various persons who had aided and abetted his activities."

In an e-mail today to a TSG reporter, Holly contended that, "I am not still hacking...I admit, I still look for security flaws, but I do not abuse them anymore." Though Holly has previously crowed that he "hacked" Google Buzz, he now contends that the "exploit was just a security flaw I found." He added, "I technically have stopped hacking. I am not even on the computer nearly as much as I used to be."

Holly apparently has yet to be charged in connection with the Cyrus hacks or his other online activities. In one Digitial Gangster post last year he wrote of "currently wiggling my way out of my current charges." In another online correspondence, Holly told of having been raided three times by federal agents, adding, "I had to tell them so much [shit] to get out of it." (8 pages)