A US man who hacked into the email accounts of celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera has been jailed for ten years by a Los Angeles court.
The most notorious incident in Christopher Chaney’s hacking spree involved him obtaining nude photographs of actress Scarlett Johansson – which the star says were taken for her then husband Ryan Reynolds – and posting them on the internet.
Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, Florida, who admitted wiretapping and obtaining unauthorised access to a computer, is said by prosecutors to have hacked into the email accounts of more than 50 celebrities, including Johansson, Aguilera and Kunis, who waived their rights to anonymity in order to highlight the issue.
Chaney accessed the accounts by clicking on the “Forgot password?” section and answering security questions using information about the stars available in the public domain. Once inside, he found photographs, contracts and scripts and sometimes used details in the stars’ list of contacts to pose as friends and request more photos. He then forwarded many of them to gossip websites, which posted them online.
US District Judge S James Otero said “It’s hard to fathom the mindset of a person who would accomplish all of this… These types of crimes are as pernicious and serious as physical stalking.”
Chaney, who was arrested in 2011 following a year-long FBI investigation nicknamed “Operation Hackerazzi”, said: “I don’t know what else to say other than ‘I’m sorry’. I could be sentenced to never use a computer again and I wouldn’t care.”