Jenna Rose Swerdlow -- the 13-year-old Dix Hills singer whose YouTube channel has had more than 25 million hits -- has become a victim of cyberhacking, with her Twitter account, YouTube channel and AOL address taken over by people who posted Nazi swastikas and obscenities, her mother Debbie Swerdlow said.
The hackers have tweeted racist comments to Jenna's more than 5,600 followers and posted a copy of her father Robert Swerdlow's paycheck, Social Security number and credit card information, Debbie Swerdlow said.
The Suffolk County Police Department's hate crimes and computer crimes units confirmed that they have been working on catching the hackers, said Det. Lt. Stephen Hernandez, commanding officer of the police department's Hate Crimes Unit, so far tracing the suspects to Canada. The hackers could face charges of computer tampering and eight counts of aggravated harassment, each a felony with a penalty of up to 1 year in prison, Hernandez said. But if the hackers turn out to be in Canada, Hernandez said the police could "be limited with how far we can go with this."
Jenna said the hacking is "really terrible" and that she's scared. "I don't know what they could be doing right now," she said.
The hacking began on March 22, when Robert Swerdlow said he got an email that appeared to be from YouTube saying that someone had changed his password. It asked him to click on a link and enter his former password, which he did. "Like an idiot, I clicked onto the link," Robert says. "Once they had that information, they were able to get control of everything."
The hackers, who the Swerdlows said referred to themselves as "Clan Vv3," almost immediately took over Jenna's YouTube channel and wiped out her 130 music videos. YouTube has now restored around 60 of them.
A YouTube representative said the organization doesn't comment on individual user accounts. Representatives for Twitter and AOL couldn't be reached.