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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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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.


"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs














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