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Celebrity Hacker Receives 10-Year Sentence For E-mail Hack

By - Source: Associated Press | B 22 comments

Christopher Chaney stole and revealed private information from more than 50 celebrities.

Christopher Chaney has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing and posting private information from more than 50 celebrities.

Chaney was found guilty of hacking into a number of celebrity e-mail accounts and posting their private information on the web, with victims including Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Simone Harouche and Renee Olstead.

"It's hard to fathom the mindset of a person who would accomplish all of this," said U.S. District Judge James Otero. "These types of crimes are as pernicious and serious as physical stalking."

Chaney, aged 35, was arrested last year following an 11-month investigation dubbed by federal officials as "Operation Hackerazzi." The hacker initially pled not guilty, but then agreed a plea deal to nine counts, including identity theft, wiretapping, as well as unauthorized access of protected computers. Moreover, he agreed to give up his computers, external drives and cell phone.

More than 50 individuals from the entertainment industry were affected by the hacks. However, only a select few agreed to be identified by name in order to offer awareness about online information theft.

Chaney admitted to hacking into the celebrities' accounts, reading through private e-mails, confidential documents and ultimately publicizing such personal information. He also sent photos to two celebrity sites, with one set including nude snaps of Johansson taken privately to send to her then-husband Ryan Reynolds.

The hacker gained access to the accounts through the "Forgot your password?" feature within victims' e-mail accounts. He then reset the passwords by answering security questions deriving from public information found on the internet. Chaney received thousands of e-mails from the victims' accounts, according to his plea agreement.

Otero heard a videotaped statement from Johansson where she said, "I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed. I find Christopher Chaney's actions to be perverted and reprehensible."

Chaney had initially faced up to 60 years in prison, with prosecutors working to to get him at least six. Otero, however, sentenced a 10-year prison term as he believed the hacker would not control his behavior and showed a "callous disregard" for his actions. The judge also said that Chaney will receive three years of supervised probation when his sentence is completed.

 

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    rantoc , December 19, 2012 9:26 AM
    If it were 50 average Joe's who got hacked he would have had perhaps one day in the police station and a slap on the shoulder....
  • 11 Hide
    freggo , December 19, 2012 11:28 AM
    10 years for 'hacking' a few dumb celebrities...
    and the guy who was behind the financing of the fake AntiVirus software stealing millions... he gets 4 years.

    Does that make sense ?
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    -Jackson , December 19, 2012 9:05 AM
    Just goes to show how stupid people really are when it comes to account security online. Similar thing went on at my highschool where we guessed the teachers' answers to "secret" questions in order to use their accounts to bypass the internet filter.
  • Display all 22 comments.
  • 14 Hide
    rantoc , December 19, 2012 9:26 AM
    If it were 50 average Joe's who got hacked he would have had perhaps one day in the police station and a slap on the shoulder....
  • 3 Hide
    Horhe , December 19, 2012 9:34 AM
    rantocIf it were 50 average Joe's who got hacked he would have had perhaps one day in the police station and a slap on the shoulder....

    That's probably true, but keep in mind that no one is interested about the average Joe's, so the average Joe will be far less affected by this than a celebrity. However, 10 years is too much.
  • 7 Hide
    abbadon_34 , December 19, 2012 9:35 AM
    Too they don't care about the privacy of regular people. But once a celebrity get hacked, their no limit to the money and manpower expense. And yet it's hardly any difference than the tabloids have done for the last 50 years.
  • 6 Hide
    nate1492 , December 19, 2012 9:42 AM
    'Hacking'? Are you kidding? This was just terrible password choices. Hacking? 60 years? The guy guessed their secret question answers as they chose guessable answers.

    I can't believe someone would get 10 years for this, what a joke.
  • 5 Hide
    drwho1 , December 19, 2012 9:52 AM
    I read this wrong....

    For a second I thought that a hacker had become a celebrity ....

    /sarcasm
  • 6 Hide
    nieur , December 19, 2012 10:28 AM
    what the hell? sometimes people get off with 10 years for murder this is too much
  • -1 Hide
    Zetto , December 19, 2012 11:02 AM
    -JacksonJust goes to show how stupid people really are when it comes to account security online. Similar thing went on at my highschool where we guessed the teachers' answers to "secret" questions in order to use their accounts to bypass the internet filter.


    Stupid is as stupid does. You don't even realize your criminal behaviour has changed your very mentality, and it will plague you all of your life. Don't do bad things crimials, you are only harming yourselves.
  • 11 Hide
    freggo , December 19, 2012 11:28 AM
    10 years for 'hacking' a few dumb celebrities...
    and the guy who was behind the financing of the fake AntiVirus software stealing millions... he gets 4 years.

    Does that make sense ?
  • 1 Hide
    -Jackson , December 19, 2012 11:36 AM
    ZettoStupid is as stupid does. You don't even realize your criminal behaviour has changed your very mentality, and it will plague you all of your life. Don't do bad things crimials, you are only harming yourselves.

    Who the hell are you to judge me on my mentality based on a statement that says hardly anything about it. You my friend, are full of crap.
  • 2 Hide
    mikenygmail , December 19, 2012 11:55 AM
    ZettoStupid is as stupid does. You don't even realize your criminal behaviour has changed your very mentality, and it will plague you all of your life. Don't do bad things crimials, you are only harming yourselves.


    Don't mention "stupid" and then type "crimials" ;)  The guy was in high school and has now matured. His post was more of a joke than anything else so don't take it so seriously.

    Zetto might have a history of choosing horrible passwords, thus the inappropriate comment...
  • 0 Hide
    mikenygmail , December 19, 2012 11:59 AM
    If this guy deserves 10 years, then every person who chose a non-secure password deserves 1 year.

    This is ridiculous beyond words.
  • -2 Hide
    mikenygmail , December 19, 2012 12:21 PM
    ZettoStupid is as stupid does. You don't even realize your criminal behaviour


    Pardon me, but would you happen to have any grey poupon? :) 
  • 5 Hide
    bllue , December 19, 2012 12:24 PM
    freggo10 years for 'hacking' a few dumb celebrities...and the guy who was behind the financing of the fake AntiVirus software stealing millions... he gets 4 years.Does that make sense ?

    And that other woman, Kristy Ross, who got a slap in the wrist for creating software that scammed millions of people and which likely led to the identity theft of tens of thousands. No jail time and fined a mere fraction of what she profited from scamming people.

    The US justice system is a joke sometimes.
  • 4 Hide
    rebel1280 , December 19, 2012 12:40 PM
    To all saying this is to much and site other hackers that got a "slap on the wrist", well maybe this well set the bar for future activities, one can only hope. I, being and Network Admin and Security Annalist, am satisfied with the finding but wont be happy until all hacker activities have this kind of punishment handed out not just the ones dealing with stars or prominent people. I call for fair treatment, all hackers should face this judge :) 
  • 3 Hide
    engrcat , December 19, 2012 12:58 PM
    And Jon Corzine walks the streets free after ripping off customers for 1.6 billion dollars. Different sets of laws for different classes of people.
  • 3 Hide
    mikenygmail , December 19, 2012 1:24 PM
    rebel1280 I, being and Network Admin and Security Annalist...


    ... should not be posting.
  • 0 Hide
    sliem , December 19, 2012 1:54 PM
    Their briefcase code is one two three four five six...
  • 2 Hide
    Max Collodi , December 19, 2012 4:23 PM
    This guy got lucky with only 10 years since he was originally facing 121 years. This was not a single crime, but 26 separate crimes with over 50 victims, not all celebrities. Two of his non-celebrity victims he had stalked for over 10 years. He also stole confidential documents, including business contracts, scripts, letters, driver’s license information, and Social Security information.
  • 1 Hide
    WyomingKnott , December 19, 2012 6:38 PM
    kjsksajJust as virginia answered I’m alamed that some people can make $105 in 1 month on the computer. Have you ready this web site ask22.com

    Today's rash of these were particularly illiterate, but this is a new twist. How many of you would drop your day jobs to make $105 in 1 month?
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