Sydney Sweeney sex tape leak malware used as bait by hackers on Twitter

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Mar 13, 2024 at 11:18 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

If you have been online at all in the past few weeks, you must have noticed that Euphoria and Anyone But You actress Sydney Sweeney has been going viral. This was due to her appearance on the late-night sketch show Saturday Night Live, as well as the discourse around the two very revealing dresses that she wore to mark the special occasion.

What followed was an onslaught of pictures and videos offering a clear, close-up view of her cleavage, declaring that the actress had brought “boobs” and “sexy” back. Further to the downside of this relentless sexualisation, the searches for Sweeney’s cleavage started to inspire many hackers and trolls to use the promise of her leaked nudes and sex tape as bait to spread links to malicious malware.

As the demand for “leaked” and ranchy, private content of the actress rose, fraudulent players online decided to capitalise on the opportunity by using shots of her cleavage, as well as Sweeney’s nude scenes from her performances in Euphoria and the erotic thriller The Voyeurs.

The technology and internet-focused independent publication 404 Media reported that during the height of online mania around Sweeney’s bosom, “Sydney Sweeney leak” became a top trending topic on X, formally Twitter.

It is still one of the first suggested entries that appear in the search bar if you start looking up the performer on the platform. While X seems to have blocked the combined search terms now, various bot accounts sharing links to the actress’s “leak” still appear when users search for anything related to her.

Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that there are no such images or videos of Sweeney anywhere online. 404 Media confirmed in its report that all the links lead to spam and malware.

If users click on the dubious attachments to the posts, they’ll find Linktree sites containing further links to download nasty and annoying popup adware software that will hijack their browser and computer. Clicking around these links usually leads to the computer’s antivirus software popping up to warn users of approaching danger.

Similar bait-and-switch tactics by hackers were observed with Taylor Swift and podcast host Bobbi Althoff’s trending leaks on the social media platform. These leaks, which turned out to be fabricated as well, illustrated the heightened danger women are subjected to in online spaces, specifically with the rise of deepfakes that utilise their likenesses to create fake pornographic content.

You have likely been seeing an increase in porn bots, scam ads, and engagement-bait posts designed to promote malware for months, highlighting the need for increased content moderation and policies by regulatory bodies.

Women’s bodies are not public property, even if they are public figures, and the online space cannot continue to constitute an exception to that.

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