Man charged with hacking Scarlett Johansson, other celebs

The 35-year-old is linked to the release of nude photos of Johansson

A 35-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on charges that he broke into the email accounts of numerous Hollywood celebrities and stole private photographs and correspondence.

Christopher Chaney, of Jacksonville, Florida, is accused of breaking into more than 50 online accounts over the past year, including those of Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and Mila Kunis, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

"Chaney distributed some of the files he obtained illegally, including photos of celebrities, and offered them to various celebrity blog sites," the FBI said.

Nude photos of Johansson, apparently taken with her smartphone, surfaced online last month, as did private photos of Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

Chaney allegedly dug up personal information about the celebrities on the Internet and used it to break into their Yahoo, Apple and Google email accounts. Prosecutors didn't say how he did this, but in the past, hackers have broken into accounts by finding the answers to password-reset questions. David Kernell accessed Sarah Palin's Yahoo Mail account using this technique, for example.

Chaney allegedly found new victims by scanning the address books of his targets, and by setting up their accounts to auto-forward emails to his own address. That meant that even after the stars had reset their passwords, he was still able to read their mail, the FBI said.

He used online aliases including trainreqsuckswhat, anonygrrl and jaxjaguars911, according to court filings.

Chaney could not be reached for comment, and his lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

If convicted of all 26 charges against him, Chaney faces 121 years in prison. He is expected to be tried in Los Angeles.

"Just because you're an actor or make films or whatever doesn't mean you're not entitled to your own personal privacy," Johansson told CNN last month. "If that is sieged in some way, it feels unjust. It feels wrong."

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags AppleYahooGooglesecuritylegalinternetcybercrime

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?