Scarlett Johansson hacker pleads guilty - faces up to 60 years in jail

Filed Under: Celebrities, Data loss, Featured, Law & order, Nude Celebrities, Privacy

Celebrity hacker Christopher Chaney (you know, the guy accused of hacking into the email accounts of female stars, scooping up their private messages and nude photos to post online) pleads guilty to nine felony counts, including wiretapping and accessing computer systems without authorisation.

Chaney is now facing a maximum of 60 years in jail. Wowsers, that is steep. That's what happens with cases involving multiple counts. I think it unlikely that he will be sentenced to the full 60 years, but it is anyone's guess as to what he will be given.

The sentence is scheduled to be handed out in July. Chaney could also be facing steep fines of up to $2.2m (£1.65m), according to the Beeb.

35-year-old Chaney was arrested last October in Jacksonville FL, following a year-long FBI hunt, codenamed 'Operation Hackerazzi'.

The investigation looked into a series of high profile hacking incidents involving 50 celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson, "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.

Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Hudgens, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus

Chaney admitted to taking advantage of the 'forgot password' feature and used publicly accessible information to answer the security questions in order to gain access to his celebrity victims' accounts, reports the BBC.

He accessed the accounts, stole nude photos, as well as lurid text messages and emails. Many of these were then shared with two online celebrity gossip sites.

According to court documents, Chaney was reported to have changed email settings, forwarding a copy of the victims' email messages automatically to an email address he could access. This way, he kept tabs on their communications and could copy over anything of interest.

Gmail forwarding emails

So even if a victim changed the password, the hacker would still be able to get a copy of the emails...

Chaney was originally facing a 26-count indictment, accusing him of unauthorized access of protected computers, wiretapping, identity theft, and damaging computers.

Initially, Chaney pled not guilty, but he struck a plea deal with the prosecutors and ended up agreeing to nine counts, including identity theft, wiretapping, and unauthorized access of protected computers, says TMZ. He also agreed to surrender his computers, external drives, and cell phone.

So, what do you think?

Scarlett image courtesy of IMDB
Hollywood image courtesy of ShutterStock

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11 Responses to Scarlett Johansson hacker pleads guilty - faces up to 60 years in jail

  1. Jenn · 948 days ago

    We live in a country where a hacker faces 60 years, but George Zimmerman is walking around free after committing murder.

    • Right, except the investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin is ongoing, Mr. Zimmerman will probably be indicted when prosecutors present their case to a grand jury in a couple of weeks.

      This isn't and episode of Law & Order, it takes weeks to investigate and prepare criminal case... And this case is not as simple or cut and dried as the news media would have believe.

      • Steve · 948 days ago

        I think the issue most people are having with the case is that he was not arrested immediately and at first glance seemed that there would never be charges filed by the local authorities. I don't know all the facts of the case, but I know that we would not even be talking about this if he had listened to the 911 operator and let the police handle it.

      • True. If you arrest and try to prosecute before you have evidence and a case, that's when people go free.

  2. kabigabor · 948 days ago

    How jails will help him to be a better person. Or shall we re-phrase; Did jail sentence has helped to anyone to be a better person? I hardly think this is the right way to go. The law seems so rigid and out-of-date when it's comes to "punishment".

    • In the US, we have a punitive system instead of a rehabilitative system. We want to punish wrong doing not prevent it from happening again.
      I'm not sure how we ended up this way since research shows that it only makes things worse but no politician worth his salts wants to be seen as "soft on crime" so it won't change easily (or ever).

    • GFYHippies · 947 days ago

      Your own comment validates the need to lock this douche up for the full 60 years, Jail will NOT make him a better person, and thus he needs to be in for the full term, for our sakes. Understand this is not some child making mischief, this is an adult who knew what he was doing and basically burglarized how many people? He is every bit a serial offender and, if you or I were more interesting, would be a direct threat to how EVERYONE uses the internet. Get your heads out of your asses and stop believing what these liberal outlets want you to believe (ohhh poor guy broke into several email accounts and stole private pictures, how much of his sentence should he get? - I find the pole in itself offensive. He is a criminal stop being so damn soft and give the max). Understand people you are all putting the same garbage on Facebook as this idiot used to "hack" these accounts, if you were even remotely worth seeing naked he or anyone else could very likely do the same to you. You are all protected by your own insignificance - if that really makes you feel safe, well enjoy it while it lasts hippies.

      • Theo · 936 days ago

        I agree with both of you. Where have the shawshank redemption days gone? When a long sentence meant a long sentence.

  3. malvagio · 948 days ago

    this guy is a hero, she's gaining publicity from this, that's what she wants, she's a fiction toon. They all do it, they let her picture leak from their phones, they go around in cars without undies. It's crazee the world we live in.

  4. Sissy · 948 days ago

    This Hollywood stuff is way over rated. Too many people have too high opinion of themselves. Now lies about someone is something entirely different. I do not believe anything I hear and have to really watch to believe what I see, Who cares about anyone enough to waste their own energy? Too much time on their hands!

  5. Karolis · 948 days ago

    60 years for crap likes this? And you call it hacking? Stop kidding and fooling non-IT literate people. He should be paid for it..... Seriously, the ones who voted 1 year or more are just simply DUMB. What a waste

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About the author

Hi. I am a social, brand and communications expert with 10 years in senior roles in the tech space. I'm currently Sophos' s Global Director of Social Media and Communities. Proudest work achievement? Creating and launching award-winning Naked Security. Outside work, I am a mean cook, an avid reader, a chronic insomniac, a podcast obsessive and blogger .