Basketball star-turned-one-time-rapper Shaquille O’Neal has been accused of hacking the phone of a former employee and lover as well as destroying evidence by throwing a laptop into a lake–all of which the NBA star denies.
Shawn Darling, who worked as a personal computer consultant for O'Neal from 2007 to 2009, claims O'Neal hacked into his voicemail and those of an alleged former lover because he had proof the veteran player had cheated on his wife with several women. Darling sued O'Neal for intentional infliction of emotional distress, racketeering and invasion of privacy.
Security firm F-Secure said O’Neal’s alleged actions cannot be qualified as hacking.
“For us who work with computer security, it’s a bit hard what to make of these allegations,” Chief Research Officer Mikko HyppÃ¶nen wrote on the company blog. “Listening to someone else’s voicemail isn’t very hard at all, neither is trying to hide computer evidence by throwing a laptop into a lake. As such, we wouldn’t categorize Mr. O’Neal as a hacker. But I guess we’ll learn more when the case progresses.”
In a motion filed yesterday to dismiss Darling’s lawsuit, O’Neal’s lawyer claims that Darling illegally obtained the supposedly incriminating emails, text messages and voicemails to support his “baseless” lawsuit in an effort to “extort” O’Neal and ruin his reputation, CNN reports.