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Chris Chaney pleads guilty to hacking over 50 celebrities' smartphones for fun and profit

Between November 2010 and October 2011, there were a rash of hacking of high-profile celebrities smartphones.  Starlets like Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis had sexually explicit or provocative pictures stolen from their devices and released onto the internet.

In Scarlett Johansson's case fully nude pictures, meant to be seen by then-husband Ryan Reynolds were exposed for the world to see.  She recalls, "I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed."

But intrusions weren't the work of a team of savvy hackers; they were the twisted hobby-horse of a single man, according to federal prosecutors -- Christopher Chaney, a 35-year-old Jacksonville, Fla. resident.

On Monday, justice was served and U.S. District Judge S. James Otero weighed a seemingly remorseful Mr. Chaney versus tearful celebrities like Ms. Johansson, who comments, "I find Christopher Chaney's actions to be perverted and reprehensible."

The federal judge gave the hacker a prison sentence of 10 years after pleading guilty of several criminal counts under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (18 USC § 1030) -- unauthorized access to a computer and illegal wiretapping.  (In the U.S. only federal agents are allowed to wiretap people.)

Mr. Chaney could have faced a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, but the sentence he did receive wasn't exactly lenient either.  Prosecutors were only seeking a sentence of 6 years, but Judge Otero was concerned that Mr. Chaney hadn't truly changed his ways and needed longer away from the world of electronics.  According to the Judge, prosecutors presented evidence that Mr. Chaney continued to pursue and harass women online after his arrest in October 2011.

In all, Mr. Chaney's "Operation Hackerazzi" breached the smartphones of 50 Hollywood and music industry celebrities.  But he was also alleged of hacking into some close acquaintances phones, including send a nude picture of a former co-worker to her father.

Chris Chaney
Chris Chaney claims he sorry for all the hacking and denies accusations that he hacked into real-world acquaintances' devices. [Image Source: AP]

Mr. Chaney does not deny hacking the celebrity phones, but was apologetic.  He, however, refused to admit to hacking his acquaintances phones, insisting he never did that.  He comments, "I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry.  I could be sentenced to never use a computer again and I wouldn't care."

The Judge is quoted as telling him, "It's hard to fathom the mindset of a person who would accomplish all of this.  These types of crimes are as pernicious and serious as physical stalking."

Now he will spend a better part of the next decade of his life behind bars (although he could get out early if gets parole).

Source: AP on Google News



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Hopeless justice
By CityZen on 12/17/2012 10:25:43 PM , Rating: 5
Ok, great, so this guy gets 10 years ... Fine
On the other hand, Andrew "Andy" Fastow, one of the masterminds of the Enron crimes, get only 6 years plus 2 years of probation for innumerable white collar crimes.
Let me ask you, does it seem fair to you?
I'm starting to think that the American judicial system is as FUBAR as the patent system.




RE: Hopeless justice
By shabby on 12/17/2012 10:30:58 PM , Rating: 5
Welcome to the land of the free(for the rich).


RE: Hopeless justice
By MartyLK on 12/17/2012 10:38:02 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Welcome to the land of the free(for the rich).

Exactly!


RE: Hopeless justice
By Jeffk464 on 12/18/2012 1:31:03 AM , Rating: 1
Anyone else want to move to Belize? :)


RE: Hopeless justice
By CZroe on 12/18/2012 7:56:43 PM , Rating: 2
No. That's where they caught John McAfee.

I just want to know how this Christopher Chaney guy targeted their phones specifically and how the exploit worked. Are we still vulnerable? Who?


RE: Hopeless justice
By Jeffk464 on 12/19/2012 12:06:30 AM , Rating: 2
Just don't shoot your neighbor and you should be fine.


RE: Hopeless justice
By Schadenfroh on 12/20/2012 11:10:00 PM , Rating: 2
Government might still raid your meth lab if you fail to pay bribe money.


RE: Hopeless justice
By Dr of crap on 12/18/2012 8:21:15 AM , Rating: 2
That's PRICELESS !


RE: Hopeless justice
By Florinator on 12/18/2012 1:37:14 PM , Rating: 5
Why did Bernie Madoff go to jail?

Because he stole from the 1%...


RE: Hopeless justice
By OS on 12/18/2012 12:11:57 AM , Rating: 5
or even worse Jon Corzine who raided all his customer accounts at MF Global and hasn't even been prosecuted


RE: Hopeless justice
By superstition on 12/18/2012 1:39:08 AM , Rating: 5
The law is designed to being applied to the little people.


RE: Hopeless justice
By Belard on 12/18/2012 2:58:31 AM , Rating: 2
The super rich can always buy their way out... that fair, right??

Just like they try (and will do so again) to buy elections out right.
Its the American way.


RE: Hopeless justice
By jmarchel on 12/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Hopeless justice
By retrospooty on 12/18/2012 9:57:49 AM , Rating: 1
Right, so the guy that was born penniless bought the election out from under the guy that was born a multi-millionaire?

Not that thte election process is good, but its not being "bought". Its done by fooling the dull masses to vote your way. In this particular election Obama did a better job fooling the dull masses.


RE: Hopeless justice
By jmarchel on 12/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Hopeless justice
By anactoraaron on 12/18/2012 10:44:28 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Democrats, unions and other liberal supporters outspent Republicans by far. You can check the facts.


How about before you tell people to "check the facts", you actually check the facts yourself first?? Karl Rove's American Crossroads super pac and the Koch Brothers and other repub supporters outspent and outfunded the Dems. See this article from the NY Times.
http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/campaign-finance

Total Inside and Outside contributions for the Repubs: $1274 Million

Total inside and outside contributions for the dems: $1141 Million

Spending was at about the same margin as funds raised (repubs had more money and spent more).

JAM JAM
JAM JAM (whatever the hell that is about)


RE: Hopeless justice
By jmarchel on 12/18/2012 11:10:27 AM , Rating: 1
They don't count soft money like unions for example.

Tell me how much it is worth to have most of the major media working for free for you:

Democrats: ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC.
Republicans: FOX.

How much it is worth to have all major newspapers ?

How about one trillion of "stimulus" spent of friends like Solyndra ?

How about "free" phones giveaway from government ?
How much it is worth not to prosecute illegal immigrants for votes ?
How much it is worth to support racist policies in government contracts and university admissions for votes ?

JAM


RE: Hopeless justice
By retrospooty on 12/18/2012 12:36:25 PM , Rating: 5
The real powers that be use the "Divide and conquer" method and you two are illustrating it now. They get us all arguing left v right, reps v dems like you two are and the truth is it doesnt matter. They are all the same BS and feed the same coffers.


RE: Hopeless justice
By Noya on 12/18/2012 3:53:33 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The real powers that be use the "Divide and conquer" method and you two are illustrating it now.


Wow, seems there may be one other non-sheep on this site.


RE: Hopeless justice
By retrospooty on 12/18/2012 6:53:47 PM , Rating: 4
Shhh... If people start listening to us then we wind up mysteriously dead. ;)


RE: Hopeless justice
By Florinator on 12/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Hopeless justice
By Manch on 12/19/2012 5:40:06 AM , Rating: 5
Difference between Bain Capital and Obama is that Bain uses private equity. Obama uses taxpayer money.


RE: Hopeless justice
By Belard on 12/19/2012 6:23:21 AM , Rating: 2
Which "network" is owned by foreigners... ie: including a Saudi Arabian. (Hint: starts with the letter "F")

There is nothing wrong with having an opinion... there is a serious problem when a "network" makes up stuff and works for/owns a political party.


RE: Hopeless justice
By FaaR on 12/19/2012 7:59:35 AM , Rating: 2
Unions don't have much money to spend, compared to corporate america, which traditionally support the republican party to a greater extent than the democrats, and always have.

No major media - print or televised - in the US is left-leaning: it's all owned and run by large corporations and conglomerates owned and controlled by the super rich, whom again overwhelmingly support and vote the republicans. This is a canard that is as oft-repeated as it is false.

Illegal immigrants aren't allowed to vote in the US, and besides, George Dubya wanted to give them all amnesty anyhow so how is this any different? Just because the republicans are embracing xenophobia now that they're in opposition doesn't change anything one bit.

Also, what "racist" policies are you talking about, and how has anything changed in the four years under Obama compared to eight of Bush? Not one damned thing I bet.

Also, if you want to talk trillions of "stimulus", look no further than the military-industrial complex, whom has profited more than anyone else from a decade of constant republican warfare in foreign nations.

JAM JAM JAM
JAM JAM JAM
JAM JAM JAM*
* - Now with nine times the JAM of competing brands!


RE: Hopeless justice
By SandmanWN on 12/21/2012 1:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
what did you smoke this morning?

unions have some pretty swanky golf courses and resorts to be so broke and unable to spend money... There is more than enough dirt on the big unions like UAW and others.

and no left leaning new agencies??? Since when did being super rich mean you were automatically not a Democrat any longer? Do people like Buffet and Immelt only exist to people other than yourself?

yeah ok, must have put the jam in the wrong whole this morning.


RE: Hopeless justice
By Chaser on 12/21/2012 6:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Illegal immigrants aren't allowed to vote in the US
I just found some fed govt cost savings! Eric Holder and the Department of Justice can stop suing states that are trying to use government issued I.D.s to check voter's eligibility.


RE: Hopeless justice
By toyotabedzrock on 12/18/2012 11:54:47 AM , Rating: 2
They are not totally bought yet. But rich media personalities control what gets reported. And only one side owns a media empire that covers print radio Tv and to some degree the web.


RE: Hopeless justice
By tng on 12/18/2012 10:21:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not that the election process is good, but its not being "bought". Its done by fooling the dull masses to vote your way.
Going deep into conspiracy here, I would think that it takes more than just fooling the dull masses to win. You have to please the super rich who control the media and agree to promote their agenda.

Mitt is wealthy, but not in the class of say, George Sorros or the people who run the IMF. Think about it.


RE: Hopeless justice
By retrospooty on 12/18/2012 10:29:32 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed. But if you are going that far the truth of the matter is that both candidates are bought and paid for by the same entities. The "choice" they give is is just an illusion. Regardless of Obama or Romney, McCain, Bush Clinton, Reagen, whoever won, the same coffers get fed. Divided and conquered - we are.


RE: Hopeless justice
By tng on 12/18/2012 10:46:10 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Regardless of Obama or Romney, McCain, Bush Clinton, Reagen, whoever won, the same coffers get fed. Divided and conquered - we are.
While I will debate whether Regan should be on that list, I have to agree with you.


RE: Hopeless justice
By retrospooty on 12/18/2012 11:22:39 AM , Rating: 4
Come on, if Reagen wasnt on that same list he would have been mysteriously assassinated like the Kennedy's were for not cooperating.


RE: Hopeless justice
By tng on 12/18/2012 11:52:30 AM , Rating: 2
I think that that method went out with Kennedy and the mess that that created.

The new method for taking care of a sitting POTUS is scandal... Do you really think that Nixon ordered the break ins at Watergate?


RE: Hopeless justice
By retrospooty on 12/18/2012 12:28:54 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Good point. It may just be a last resort.


RE: Hopeless justice
By torpor on 12/18/2012 10:32:17 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they tried to get Reagan.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_assassinatio...

Ever hear of the Brady gun control bill? He was injured there, which brought about his POV.


RE: Hopeless justice
By retrospooty on 12/19/2012 12:22:59 PM , Rating: 2
I wass assuming Hinkley was just a nut. If they wanted him deaad he would have been... Unless of course it was just a warning... "Do what we tell you or next time you will wind up dead"

Scary.


RE: Hopeless justice
By marvdmartian on 12/18/2012 8:17:01 AM , Rating: 2
Or the dude who made $71,000,000 on "scareware" (fake anti-virus programs), who only gets 4 years in prison? Yeah, that seems fair!


RE: Hopeless justice
By Dr of crap on 12/18/2012 8:25:47 AM , Rating: 2
It's called "marketing".

While a lot of it is just buyer beware, a lot more can be looked at as slimy, money grabbing crap.

But then again it pays the bills and gives us good products as well.

Double edged sword.


RE: Hopeless justice
By Jeffk464 on 12/19/2012 12:08:39 AM , Rating: 3
Speaking of Scarlett Johansson can someone post a link to her nude pics, thanks.


RE: Hopeless justice
By Argon18 on 12/19/2012 5:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? Since when is hacking not a white collar crime?


.
By StevoLincolnite on 12/17/2012 10:20:43 PM , Rating: 5
Simple solution to all of this...

They simply should have used their common sense and not put nude photo's of themselves on portable devices which can easily be: Lost, stolen or hacked or whatever.

Everyone is happy then, well... Except for the hormonal teenagers.

Also, 10 years? That's twice as long as the average rape sentence!




RE: .
By robiwon on 12/18/2012 2:34:36 AM , Rating: 2
So, we should give up our basic right to some sort privacy, because of basement dweller combined some lame code that cannot prevent the simplest of hacks.

Last time I checked most houses have glass windows. It is a crime to break a window and go through someones personal belongings. How is this any different? Have you ever experienced a home break-in?

This guy seems like he is a serial home invader of the digital kind. He can enjoy the next few years of having his personal space "invaded".


RE: .
By StevoLincolnite on 12/18/2012 4:35:06 AM , Rating: 5
I'm not saying to give up your basic rights, that's putting words in my mouth.
I'm just saying to use common sense.
You will NEVER stop hackers and you will never be able to have 100% privacy, it's just the way the world works.

You will always get people who break into your home, go through your letter box, stalk you on social networks etc'.

You can however minimize such risks.


RE: .
By cyberguyz on 12/18/2012 6:00:09 AM , Rating: 5
"Last time I checked most houses have glass windows. It is a crime to break a window and go through someones personal belongings. How is this any different? Have you ever experienced a home break-in?"

There's a big difference here: You can't take your house with you and leave it sitting in a restaurant or get mugged for it.

Do you get 10 years for a Break & Enter? Max I have ever heard of is 2 years. Paedophiles don't even get 10 years.

Agreed invasion of privacy is a crime, but is it a crime that required the same kind of punishment as rape or murder? Judge in this case seems to think so.

the question isn't if this guy should be punished. Of course he should. The question is "Does the punishment fit the crime?". Shit no.


RE: .
By ilt24 on 12/18/2012 9:16:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do you get 10 years for a Break & Enter? Max I have ever heard of is 2 years. Paedophiles don't even get 10 years.


How many years does a person get for dozens of B&E's with some of them done after an inital arrest? He wasn't in court for one criminal act, it was a long string of them.


RE: .
By cyberguyz on 12/20/2012 6:02:36 AM , Rating: 1
Not 10 years. Perhaps 5 for the "3-time-loser".

Sorry, but the punishment just does NOT fit the crime. This judge's has verdict was faulty.

On the defendant's side, he was stupid as shit to plead 'guilty' and expect mercy. He should have fought it. At least then he would be able to appeal. But if you plead guilty, you pretty much throw that possibility away and this judge knew it.

I am sure he made a whole lot of rich celebrities really happy.


RE: .
By SandmanWN on 12/21/2012 1:10:01 PM , Rating: 2
He did the smart thing. He took a one shot punishment deal for all cases and placed it on the leniency of a single judge.

Do you really think he would have done better with 50 individual cases each with a high priced celebrity lawyer involved?
Guy would be in jail for the rest of his life if he fought that battle.


RE: .
By tng on 12/18/2012 10:49:15 AM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with SL here, that is why I keep all my porn on non networked storage!


RE: .
By Spookster on 12/18/2012 6:14:57 PM , Rating: 3
They should have given him more years for not finding more photos than what he did. You can't just throw us a couple of photos and leave it at that. We want more!!!


Quote
By kingmotley on 12/17/2012 10:42:17 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
She recalls, "I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed."


Scarlett, you have absolutely nothing to be humiliated about. Embarrassed maybe at the sheer thought of all those guys drooling over you perhaps, but then they already were.




RE: Quote
By jimbojimbo on 12/17/2012 11:28:10 PM , Rating: 5
That's what I was thinking. She looked DAMN good! Absolutely nothing to feel sorry about.


RE: Quote
By Belard on 12/18/2012 3:06:05 AM , Rating: 2
They were cute and sexy photos... for private use. Yeah, she's a hot girl and all... but her phone was violated.

Most people nowadays have nude/sexy whatever photos of their girlfriends/wives...


RE: Quote
By Schrag4 on 12/20/2012 6:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most people nowadays have nude/sexy whatever photos of their girlfriends/wives...


I would qualify this and say that these people either don't care if other people see the photos or they're not all that bright.


RE: Quote
By cyberguyz on 12/18/2012 5:39:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
She recalls, "I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed."

What a joke.

If she was truly afraid these pics would be 'leaked' she sure as shit would not be carrying them around on a smartphone. Why would anybody carry around naked pics of themselves on their smartphone except to show them off?

Smartphones get lost and stolen every day. Any moron knows that.

She is hot though.


RE: Quote
By Florinator on 12/18/2012 1:42:57 PM , Rating: 3
I wonder if you keep money and credit cards in your wallet... Because, you know, wallets get stolen all the time, any moron knows that!!!


RE: Quote
By chripuck on 12/18/2012 4:05:36 PM , Rating: 3
Did you really just compare carrying around currency or its equivalent to nude pictures of yourself? I take it you didn't think that point through very well...


RE: Quote
By cyberguyz on 12/20/2012 5:57:10 AM , Rating: 3
Actually I don't carry cash in my wallet nor do I use credit cards. I do keep nude photos of myself in it though ... wanna see?

Regardless of what is in my wallet, I would expect the person that stole it to get a couple years in jail max - not 10 years.

I see Scarlett shaves ;)


RE: Quote
By SandmanWN on 12/21/2012 1:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, this case involves 50 celebrities.
Its not just one wallet or one act as you portray. It is habitual acts of criminal activity.

50 cases with 3 months served for each would put him in jail for 12.5 years. The punishment is accurate for the amount of people involved if not more beneficial to this idiot. He will probably end up with 6-8yrs served.


Curious if any of you questioned the phrase...
By Hakuryu on 12/17/2012 10:58:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
weighed a seemingly remorseful Mr. Chaney versus tearful celebrities like Ms. Johansson


Should actors be allowed to be part of court proceedings, when the outcome may be influenced by the actions of the particpants?

Ms. Johansson could probably turn on the tears and look extremely remorseful if she accidentally stepped on a flower. Its what actors do; simply not fair for a non-actor defendant.

The defendant was wrong for what he did, but I don't think he deserves his sentence, when one of the guys responsible for the paid antivirus scams got four years. Scarlet is still hot with the Iron Man/Avengers movies, and perhaps even moreso since her pictures leaked...

Part of our laws should be re-written to convey the stupidity of litigants. Take nude pictures of yourself? Then deal with the aftermath personally and not with tax dollars when unforeseen consequences arise from your actions.




RE: Curious if any of you questioned the phrase...
By Stan11003 on 12/18/2012 9:36:17 AM , Rating: 2
It is normal for victims to be at court proceedings, in fact sometimes they even let them testify.


RE: Curious if any of you questioned the phrase...
By Camikazi on 12/18/2012 12:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
That is true but letting someone whose job is to fool people into believing them when they pretend to be someone else is a bit sneaky. The jury or whoever is hearing the trial will see her crying and sympathize but no one but them will know if it is genuine or not since it is her job to fool you. It's like letting an NBA MVP player in on a high school game, it's just not fair.


By cubby1223 on 12/18/2012 1:39:42 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm, let's also ban lawyers from courtrooms?

Have you never been on a jury before?


RE: Curious if any of you questioned the phrase...
By ilt24 on 12/18/2012 1:53:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The defendant was wrong for what he did, but I don't think he deserves his sentencequote>

There is a bit more than hacking Scarlet's phone to the case.

quote:
Long before Christopher Chaney made headlines by hacking into the email accounts of such stars as Scarlett Johansson and Christina Aguilera, two other women say he harassed and stalked them online.


quote:
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.


quote:
One of the women, identified by the initials T.B., said she first met Chaney online in 1999 when she was 13 years old. She began talking with a girl named "Jessica" that later turned out to actually be Chaney.


http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/12/17/ho...


RE: Curious if any of you questioned the phrase...
By Manch on 12/19/2012 5:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
Regardless of wether or not what you said is true, most people on this site wont believe your quotes since you posted a link to FOXNEWS.


By ilt24 on 12/19/2012 10:26:56 AM , Rating: 1
I actually don't think people here care about facts, they just want to bitch, in this case about the justice system....but for those that don't like Fox, here is an article from the Huffington post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/hollywood...


makes no sense
By jonjonjon on 12/18/2012 3:04:13 PM , Rating: 3
he gets 10 years for releasing a naked picture of someone yet you can steal millions and commit fraud and get less then half that.




RE: makes no sense
By SandmanWN on 12/21/2012 1:18:30 PM , Rating: 2
not one, try reading the article. its over 50 people involved. the judge also took into account that he had priors for doing the same to other people and even continued to harass people after being caught.


Why
By crazyboy1 on 12/20/2012 2:53:58 AM , Rating: 2
Why are these celebrities and people even taking nude photos of themselves and holding on to them on a mobile phone? Do they look at themselves naked, fine but why save on a phone? Do they need to keep seeing how they look, its just more practical to look in a mirror if they are so obsessed with their bodies.




RE: Why
By kingmotley on 12/21/2012 1:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
More than likely they just didn't think to erase them, or they are in their SMS history, and they don't want/don't know how to erase their conversation history.


election process
By tharik on 12/21/2012 8:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
'Not that the election process is good, but its not being "bought". Its done by fooling the dull masses to vote your way. In this particular election Obama did a better job fooling the dull masses.'

Not sure if dull masses is correct. More like dumb asses.




This is how it should be
By Beenthere on 12/18/12, Rating: -1
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner














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