ICM Partners Foils Identity Thief As Hackers Target Hollywood Talent Agencies

About two months ago, someone tried to impersonate ICM Partners’ head Chris Silbermann and get employee social security numbers. That attempt, which was done through a fake AOL email, was shut down quickly and before information was given out and the situation was handed over to the FBI. UTA was hacked just about a month ago, leading to an email shutdown and people reverting to (gasp!) communicating by phone.

Deadline’s sister company Variety had a security breach, and CAA is targeted almost every day. After the Sony hack, CAA changed policies and instituted weekly meetings with about 11 people to make sure that all information is kept secure.

Attempts are made in the thousands weekly by identity thieves and hackers to access Hollywood companies — just like anywhere else in Southern California and especially in the real estate field. Any IT technician can tell you that. But especially since the hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment where private information and even embarrassing emails were sent around the world, those around town are now taking measures to protect themselves.

One of the main targets for hacking and identity theft is in the real estate market, when people try to close escrow and everything is done in writing through email.

How do you protect yourself in this day and age? “It’s so funny, but you go back to analog. Making phone calls. Not putting anything in writing now,” one executive at an agency said.

One of the worst hack jobs to hit town of late happened at Netflix where it is wrangling with a hacker known as The Dark Lord who uploaded next season’s episodes of Orange is the New Black to a file sharing service and, oh yeah, dropped a ransom note to Netflix.

So how do you protect against this type of thing? We asked Hemanshu “Hemu” Nigam, a former federal prosecutor against Online Crimes and former Chief Security Officer for News Corp and Fox Interactive Media, and VP Worldwide Internet Enforcement under Jack Valenti’s MPAA to weigh in.


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