Hollywood Leaks, an anti-Hollywood hacking ring, has denied any involvement in the Scarlett Johansson nude photo leak that took the Internet by storm last week.
After the FBI claimed to be targeting a suspect, many believed that Hollywood Leaks was behind the most recent cell phone photo hacking of A-list celebrities.
But the sinister cyberterrorists insist they are not involved.
At about 3 p.m. Monday, the hackers tweeted the following message:
WE DID NOT LEAK THE SCARLETT JOHANSSON PICS, WE WOULD HAVE RELEASED IT HERE FIRST! So stop the speculating!
Indeed, the group has not been shy about taking credit for photo leaks in the past. Hollywood Leaks gleefully claimed responsibility for hacking the phone of Dancing With the Stars talent Julianne Hough and circulating photos of the star in late August.
On Wednesday, nude self-portraits of actress Scarlett Johansson began making the rounds on Twitter and other Web sites. Later that same day, an uninidentified person sent an email to Perez Hilton, offering to sell compromising photos of Justin Timberlake that he sent to his Friends with Benefits costar.
Johansson was outraged by the invasion of privacy, and enlisted the FBI to investigate.
The FBI is investigating a person or group responsible for a series of cyber intrusions of high profile figures, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told E! News last week. This would include many devices-could mean a computer, desktop, laptop, iPad, cell phone...intrusions into personal online accounts too.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the FBI probe had begun before Johansson's nude photos were leaked. And on Thursday, TMZ reported th FBI was closing in on the hacker.
Johansson and her publicists made sure the actresses leaked photos were removed from Web sites that had received them by sending cease-and-desist orders to outlets that had published the nude pictures.
Nik Richie of TheDirty.com complied with the order, but he told MTV is was out of character.
I usually never remove images I get from hackers or third parties, he explained. When you're a public figure, you're looking for attention as far as press and media. But in Scarlett's case, I felt for her.
These images were a little more personal and private, Richie continued. Scarlett doesn't need to leak photos, she's pretty established. So this wasn't a press play. This was someone hacking into her phone, stealing her text messages and leaking them onto the Internet.