Wed, 19 Dec 2012 12:45:00 GMT | By PTI

Johansson's email hacker jailed for 10 years

Florida man, who hacked emails of celebrities like Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis and leaked nude photos of Scarlett Johansson online, gets 10-year sentence.


Johansson's email hacker jailed for 10 years (© Reuters)

Washington: Christopher Chaney, who was accused of hacking into the email accounts and private computer files of Hollywood stars including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Renee Olstead and Christina Aguilera, has been sentenced to ten years of imprisonment by a federal court in Los Angeles.

A resident of Florida, Chaney, 36, was also ordered by the US District Court Judge James Otero to pay USD 66,179 in restitution. His conduct demonstrated a "callous disregard to the victims," the judge said.

"Illegal wiretapping gave Mr. Chaney access to every email sent to more than four dozen victims, and allowed him to view their most personal information," United States Attorney Andre Birotte, said.

"Chaney is responsible for causing dozens of illegally obtained, private photographs to be posted on the internet, where they were available for all to see. This case is a sobering reminder that cybercrime poses a very real threat to every American, and everyone should take steps to safeguard their identities and personal information on the internet," he added.

Chaney targeted over 50 people in the entertainment industry and leaked photos of Aguilera after sending an email from the account of her stylist, Simone Harouche, asking for scantily clad images.

Pleading guilty, Chaney admitted that he hacked into the victims' email accounts by clicking on the "forgot your password?" feature, and then re-setting the passwords by correctly answering their security questions he guessed by using information he found on the net.

Once Chaney gained exclusive control of the victims' email accounts, he was able to access all of their email boxes. While in the accounts, Chaney also went through their contact lists to find addresses of new targets.

Chaney admitted that for most victims he changed their email account settings by inserting his own email address into the forwarding feature so that he would receive, without the victims' knowledge, a duplicate copy of all incoming emails.

In court, Chaney admitted that as his hacking scheme became more extensive, he began using a proxy service called "Hide My IP" because he wanted to "cover his tracks".

As a result of his hacking scheme, Chaney obtained private photographs and confidential documents, including business contracts, scripts, letters, driver's license information and Social Security information.

Chaney emailed many of the stolen photographs to others, including another hacker and two gossip websites, the Justice Department said.

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