Celebrity hacker who leaked Johansson, Aguilera & Alba photos gets 10 years

A celebrity phone hacker, known for leaking intimate photos of Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus and Jessica Alba among others, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Jacksonville, Florida resident Christopher Chaney, 35, plead guilty in LA Federal Court to nine counts of computer hacking and wiretapping. He gained access to over 50 celebrity e-mail accounts using known information about them from public sources. After he got into one account he would mine it for additional email addresses to break into. He also cyber-stalked non-celebrity women he personally knew, sometimes for years, and set it up so their intimate photos would be leaked to their family members. It all sounds awful, creepy and very invasive and his victims agree.

A federal judge on Monday sentenced a man who hacked into the personal online accounts of Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and other women to 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero sentenced Christopher Chaney in Los Angeles after hearing from a tearful Johansson in a videotaped statement..

The biggest spectacle in the case was the revelation that nude photos taken by Johansson herself and meant for her then-husband Ryan Reynolds were placed on the Internet.

Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, Fla., pleaded guilty to counts that included wiretapping and unauthorized access to a computer.

Chaney also targeted two women he knew, sending nude pictures of one former co-worker to her father.

The women, who both knew Chaney, said their lives have been irreparably damaged by his actions. One has anxiety and panic attacks; the other is depressed and paranoid. Both say Chaney was calculated, cruel and creepy.

Their accounts as cybervictims serve as a cautionary tale for those, even major celebrities, who snap personal, and sometimes revealing photos.

Christina Aguilera said in a statement issued days before the sentencing that although she knows that she’s often in the limelight, Chaney took from her some of the private moments she shares with friends.

“That feeling of security can never be given back and there is no compensation that can restore the feeling one has from such a large invasion of privacy,” Aguilera said.

Prosecutors said Chaney illegally accessed the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry between November 2010 and October 2011. Aguilera, Kunis and Johansson agreed to have their identities made public with the hopes that the exposure about the case would provide awareness about online intrusion.

Some of Aguilera’s photos appeared online after Chaney sent an email from the account of her stylist, Simone Harouche, to Aguilera asking the singer for scantily clad photographs, prosecutors said.

Chaney was arrested in October 2011 as part of a yearlong investigation of celebrity hacking that authorities dubbed “Operation Hackerazzi.” Chaney’s computer hard drive contained numerous private celebrity photos and a document that compiled their extensive personal data, according to a search warrant.

[From NY Daily News]

I feel for the victims, especially the everyday women who were unfortunate enough to get targeted by this guy. What I want to know is whose nude photos were leaked by this creep, and who leaked their own. Like was Blake Lively his target, or did someone else release her photos? I know that Vanessa Hudgen’s pictures pre-date this. Also, the government wants to send a message to would-be email hackers that this type of hacking won’t be tolerated and will come with stiff penalties.

Technically speaking, Yahoo! email account used to be easier to crack than Gmail or Hotmail I believe. Like Yahoo! had ridiculously easy security reset questions that could be guessed with known information about a person. They weren’t secure at all. I think that they’ve revamped their security measures in the past couple of years though, following some high profile hacking cases.

Photo credit: FameFlynet

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30 Responses to “Celebrity hacker who leaked Johansson, Aguilera & Alba photos gets 10 years”

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  1. lori says:

    And yet Lilo remains free. Thank you Lady Justice.

  2. study-er says:

    Please tell me why this guy gets 10 years and individuals committing far worse crimes (child abuse, for example) seem to never get enough punishment. ugh.

    • lisa2 says:

      So true. he could have killed someone and gotten a lesser sentence. Our JUSTICE system is so off in how people are sentenced.

    • HadleyB says:

      Exactly! Yeah it was horrible what he did but he gets more time than rapists, abusers, molesters, drunk drivers??

      Just because they were celebs?

    • mln76 says:

      I’m guessing the harassment wasn’t what got him he committed federal crimes in order to harass these women If he had done it the old fashioned way he would have got a slap on the wrist.

    • lucy2 says:

      I kind of agree. What he did was awful and he certainly deserves punishment for it, but it seems like there are violent or dangerous people who get similar sentences.
      Probably the answer to that is this guy’s sentence is just, and the more dangerous people deserve far greater sentences.

    • Mini-Me says:

      I also agree that his sentence – though deserved – seems disproportional to how the justice system punishes other criminals.

      HOWEVER, sentencing also takes into account other elements than just the crime itself. It’s not just about proportionality: deterrence is an important element as well. I hypothesize that his long sentence is also for deterrent purposes. The justice system is sending a message to other hackers: You might not think it’s a big deal, but it really is.

      And, it might work. Hacking is something anyone can generally do, so making it highly punishable might cause the average Joe to think twice. People with violent tendencies that actually take it upon themselves to go through with despicable crimes like murder, rape, etc. would less likely to be deterred/care about the punishment.

    • roxy750 says:

      I just read about a guy who was a repeat offender of beating the crap out of his girlfriend and tried to strangle her–if it wasn’t for bystanders getting him off of her she may have died. She was battered and bruised. He has a record of this. He gets 170 days in jail, 5 years probation. This is just an example. There are much worse, apparently you can m$lest a child and get less. Makes me so angry, so very very angry. Yet this person (s) gets 10 freaking years for some pictures ??? WTF?

  3. V4Real says:

    That’s one sick individual and a 10 year sentence was being kind. Not only was it the privacy of celebrities that he was invading he was also doing it to everyday people like us. I know people need to take care with nude photos on their phones and such but it still doesn’t give someone the right to expose their most intimate moments. He’s a despicable human being.

  4. Lulu says:

    I’ve had my gmail account hacked. Luckily my brother-in-law works at Google and got someone to unlock it and let me know what was going on the same day. They said it was just a spamming take-over. Still, scary. I don’t take keep or send those kind of photos anymore. Yeeks.

  5. RN says:

    I don’t understand the need for people to photograph themselves repeatedly in the nude. I’m definitely missing something here.

  6. Sarabeth says:

    Oh come on, I thought it was pretty common knowledge that Jennifer Garner was rumored to have leaked those nudes Blake sent to Ben Affleck. I’m going to add “allegedly” but come on…girl is trashy enough to send nudes/ sleep with married men.

  7. Riana says:

    I’m very happy to hear that, people don’t respect other’s privacy and this is just a more famous case of what is happening a lot lately in terms of online stalking, harassment, and blackmail. Such as with Amanda Todd.

  8. Starlight says:

    The sentence is too severe for the crime. No one died. Besides some of it helped the celebrities to get recogized with their hidden assets. There are crimes that are worse than that and get off earlier than 10 yrs. I guess money talks.

  9. Nick says:

    Justice. It’s an invasion of privacy and this is how identity thieves operate. A stiff sentence sends the proper message.

  10. Moore says:

    I don’t know why to feel sorrier for the regular women then for the celebrities they are the victims of the same crime. I feel equally sorry for both. The sentence seems high but legally that is the way things work sometimes. Look at tax evasion. Apparently this country believes tax evasion is a more serious crime then murder.

  11. Jayna says:

    Interesting. Federal crimes serve their full sentence. In the criminal court system, the actual time served is far less than the actual sentence, with time off for good behavior. So this guy will serve ten years. Although, he sounds frightening, what he did to those two women. That type of behavior always escalates. Having worked in the criminal court system before, I have seen far less time actually spent in jail for a violent crime, though.

  12. Daniel says:

    that’s a way too harsh penalty for that crime. He should be getting like 1 year at most and in a minimal security prison. Especially if the guy didn’t have any previous criminal record.