Scarlett Johansson's nude photo hacker to plead guilty

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

A man who hacked into the email accounts of female celebrities, and uncovered naked pictures of starlets including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera and Vanessa Hudgens, has agreed to plead guilty at a Los Angeles federal court later today.

35-year-old Christopher Chaney, was arrested last year in an FBI operation dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi".

Famous victims of hacking have included 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

In all, more than 50 victims have been identified by the authorities.

Chaney is said to have searched the internet for information about his victims, which then helped him gain control of their email accounts. Once he had accessed celebrity email accounts, he changed their settings to automatically forward messages to an account under his control - even if the original owner changed their password.

Gmail forwarding emails

Chaney has previously described how his reading of stars' private messages and access to private photos had become an addiction. He admitted forwarding many of the photographs to gossip websites and another hacker, but no evidence has surfaced that he profited financially from the hacking.

Clearly, Chaney is the one to blame here - and he could face a significant jail sentence for his crimes.

Scarlett JohanssonBut you can't also help but wonder whether some of these young female actresses and singers weren't also acting naively when they shared intimate photographs with their loved ones on the net. (Scarlett Johansson, for instance, has gone on the record as saying that the private naked photographs she took of herself in her bathroom were intended for ex-husband Ryan Reynolds.

Whether you're a famous film star, or a regular civilian, it's probably wise to think of the worst possible outcome if you ever use the internet to transfer a nude photo or a sex video of yourself.

Furthermore, shouldn't the gossip websites who republished the private photos of the stars also be held to account? They can't possibly have thought that the images weren't anything other than stolen property.

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5 Responses to Scarlett Johansson's nude photo hacker to plead guilty

  1. Phillipa Woodburne · 1250 days ago

    I don't understand why these celebrities have these photos taken in the first place! I would never take a photo of myself in the nude! Hacking will get more of a problem and I recently bought a clip to cover my webcam from People should be more aware of their privacy and stop showing off!!

    • Phillipa, Have you ever been away from someone you love for an extended period?

      And remember the boyfriends/husbands are sharing photo's as well, their just... less interesting to ppl like Chaney.

    • Mike · 1250 days ago

      Be careful not to blame the victim, it is very easy to do in cases involving personal privacy as the protection that allows to have different values has been stripped away as part of the crime. It may not be what you would choose to do, but it is legal and they were using their property in private with the understanding that their actions would not be shared with the rest of society, and hence not cause any harm or offend the sensibilities of others. The privacy that allows people to behave as they wish within their own homes is important to the kind of multicultural society that developed nations aspire to.

      No legal action should be thought of as inviting a crime. The same reasoning that you would apply to leaving a door unlocked, or wearing provocative clothing should be applied to cybercrime.

      Part of the popularity of digital camera technology is the additional privacy that it provides by allowing photos to be developed easily at home. Advocating the restriction in the use of those devices is taking part of the value that people payed for when they bought the device away from those people.

  2. Thewaymymindworks · 1250 days ago

    What? Millions of teenaged boys around the world haven't pitched in for a legal defense fun for this guy?

  3. Jim Hillier · 1250 days ago

    Where's the link to the photos? :)

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley