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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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By kingmotley on 12/17/2012 10:42:17 PM , Rating: 5
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
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
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.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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