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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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Curious if any of you questioned the phrase...
By Hakuryu on 12/17/2012 10:58:54 PM , Rating: 2
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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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