Celebrity Hacker Arrested By FBI
The infamous hacking scandal that exposed revealing photographs and other sensitive information about such hot Hollywood stars as Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Vanessa Hudgens, Jessica Alba, Christina Aguilera and dozens more, was solved Wednesday, as the FBI arrested Christopher Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, Florida for the crimes.
For months Chaney had allegedly been hacking into the email accounts of numerous celebrities, studying up on their personal lives via tabloids, as well as their own Twitter and Facebook feeds, to guess and test their passwords, reports the L. A. Times. After tedious hours spent hacking from his home computer, Chaney would occasionally gain access, and from there access information about more celebrities from the hacked address books, saved photographs, and other files. The unemployed Chaney even knew when his victims changed their passwords, as he set up a forwarding program that kept him apprised of all future activity on the illegally accessed accounts.
"There is so much information about celebrities now out there. Entertainment shows discuss celebrities' birthdays and their kids' names. Wikipedia and imdb.com are playing grounds for these hackers seeking information," publicist Edward Lozzi, who represents two celebs who have had their Facebook accounts hacked, told the paper.
In an unexpected twist to the yearlong investigation, there appears to be no financial motive behind Chaney's crimes. Though people had speculated that the then-unknown hacker was looking to either sell the accessed information or use it as blackmail against the victims, it appears that he was working alone and for purely his own pleasure. The case, which investigators dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi," has shed new light on the vulnerability of celebrities' sensitive information in the Internet age. It is helping "get out the message that cyber-hacking is a real threat," said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte, reports E! Online.
Chaney was released on $10,000 bond late Wednesday. If he is convicted of the 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access to a protected computer, and wiretapping up against him, he could face up to 121 years in prison.
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