A pair of Germans allegedly used malware to break into computers used by managers and agents of more than 50 music stars including Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake.
The two as yet unnamed hackers - a 17-year-old from Duisburg and a 23-year-old from Wessel, both in the Ruhr Area of Western Germany - used unspecified malware to spy on email, private photos and early copies of unreleased songs.
The duo allegedly attempted to profit from their crime by offering unreleased tracks for sale on the net. The compromised computers were more likely those used by the entourages and contacts of stars rather than singers themselves, but this point is also somewhat unclear.
The pair also allegedly attempted to run an extortion scam against American singer Ke$ha using stolen naked pictures of her, The Daily Telegraph reports. Reports in the German media suggest the would-be blackmailers were perhaps more interested in coercing Ke$ha into arranging a public DJ battle.
A investigation over the release of bootleg songs featuring US singer Kelly Clarkson involving US and German authorities led to the arrest of the pair, who have been questioned but not yet charged over the case. It seems the duo may have made unwise comments on internet forums, leading investigators to them. ®