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“Operation Hackerazzi” Accused Pleads Guilty
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On Monday, a 35-year Florida man charged with hacking the email accounts of more than 50 celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera pleaded guilty of sending nude photos to celebrity websites. He was apprehended in October 2011 following an 11-month investigation by the FBI codenamed “Operation Hackerazzi.”

Critics say that the admitted crimes of the hacker lend authenticity to those nude photos, though to all purposes, he won’t be able to view them again in this lifetime.

Christopher Chaney of Jacksonville is currently held in custody and may be sentenced up to 60 years in prison on top of fines and restitution of about $2.5 million. The sentencing is scheduled in July.

  
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Chaney is charged with unauthorized computer access, wiretapping and other felony charges.

The list of celebrity victims is long, and on top of the big three mentioned above other victims include former Disney Channel star Vaness Hudgens and Renee Olstead, a star of ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” and other victims identified only by their initials.

Chaney’s antics led to the circulation of nude photos of Scarlet Johansson and a bubblebath picture of Mila Kunis. Johansson later said that the photos had been shot for the benefit of her then husband, actor Ryan Reynolds.

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United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. told the media, “Today’s guilty pleas shine a bright light on the dark underworld of computer hacking … This case demonstrates that everyone, even public figures, should take precautions to shield their personal information from the hackers that inhabit that dark underworld.

Chaney admitted to an absurdly simple method for hacking celebrity accounts: He used publicly available information about celebrities including nicknames and used the “forgot password” feature to learn the passwords. Once in control of the email accounts, he obtained business contacts, private photos, and other documents. He sometimes feigned as a friend to request more private photos.



Though he had initially pleaded not guilty, the mounting heap of evidence placed before him made him change his mind and admit his guilt before the court on Monday.



 

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