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Celebrity cyber stalker is sent down for 10 years

Hacked into email accounts
Tue Dec 18 2012, 12:22
Judge's gavel

A CYBER STALKER who hacked into the email accounts of female stars such as Scarlett Johansson and Christina Aguilera has been sent down for 10 years.

In Los Angeles on Monday, US District Court Judge James Otero sentenced Christopher Chaney, 35, following his guilty plea to accessing the computers of Hollywood stars and others without their consent.

According to the Associated Press, prosecutors said Chaney accessed the email accounts of more than 50 celebrities, but the most notorious was the widely reported incident involving naked photos Johansson had taken of herself that were posted online.

"It's hard to fathom the mindset of a person who would accomplish all of this," the judge said. "These types of crimes are as pernicious and serious as physical stalking."

Chaney replied, "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 astonishing thing about the case is that Chaney admitted that he hacked into the email accounts of his victims by simply clicking on the "forgot password" feature. All he had to do then was answer a few security questions by using information that was already in the public domain.

Chaney initially pleaded not guilty to the charges after he was arrested in October 2011 as part of a year-long FBI investigation called "Operation Hackerazzi".

Once inside the victims' accounts, Chaney extracted photos and business contracts, and browsed contact lists to find other celebrity victims. Some of this information, such as the nude photos of Johansson, he then sold to online gossip publications.

Judge Otero has evidently made an example of Chaney, with the lengthy 10 year prison sentence standing as a warning to other cyber stalkers looking to do the same. µ


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