FBI arrested Christopher Chaney from Florida after he had allegedly accessed Scarlett Johansson and other 50 celebrities’ phones and email accounts.
Several n**e photos of Scarlett Johansson appeared on an Internet site earlier this year and TMZ.com reported that hackers stole them from her cellular phone.
Christopher Chaney, 35, from Jacksonville was arrested this morning on charges that stem from a year-long probe known as Operation Hackerazzi.
Christopher Chaney was charged with hacking into the emails of Christina Aguilera, Scarlett Johansson, Renee Olstead and Mila Kunis in a computer invasion scheme that targeted Hollywood celebrities, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Christopher Chaney is expected to appear in a Florida courtroom later Wednesday and charged with 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access to a protected computer and wiretapping.
If convicted, Christopher Chaney faces up to 121 years in prison. It wasn’t immediately known if he had retained an attorney.
According to authorities Christopher Chaney was responsible for stealing nude photos taken by Scarlett Johansson herself and were later posted on the Internet. Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office said the hacker offered some material to celebrity blog sites but there is no evidence that he profited from his scheme.
“Celebrity information is highly marketable,” said Steven Martinez, who added LA office continues to receive complaints about celebrities having their personal information breached.
Many of them were named only by initials as only those who were named as victims in the indictment agreed to have the identities made public.
“It helps get out the message that cyber-hacking is a real threat,” said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte, who called those who engage in such activity as “scum”.
Christopher Chaney hacked Google, Apple and Yahoo email accounts beginning November 2010 through February 2011, then hijacked the forwarding feature so that a copy of every email received was sent, “virtually instantaneously”, to an email account he controlled.
Christopher Chaney allegedly used the hacker names “trainreqsuckswhat”, “anonygrrl” and “jaxjaguars911” and also used the victims’ identities to illegally access and control computers.
The hacker is accused of damaging email servers that caused losses of at least $5,000 per instance.
Authorities wouldn’t say whether Christopher Chaney was able to access email accounts via cell phones, but he was able to figure out secure passwords to various celebrity accounts through information that had been made public.
A hacking group has claimed responsibility for allegedly accessing Scarlett Johansson’s phone however this has not been verified.
Scarlett Johansson’s or other celebrity’s representatives did not comment on the news until now.