Hacker to appear in LA court over celebrity hacking

Oct 15, 2011
Actress Scarlett Johansson arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California, February 2011. Christopher Chaney's arrest by FBI agents grew out of an 11-month investigation into the hacking of over 50 entertainment celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson.

A Florida computer hacker was ordered Friday to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom on November 1 after he entered no plea during a federal court appearance on Friday, court officials said.

Christopher Chaney, 35, learned he would face judicial proceedings on the other side of the United States during a brief court date in Jacksonville, where he lives.

His arrest by FBI agents grew out of an 11-month investigation into the hacking of over 50 entertainment celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and Mila Kunis.

If convicted, he could face up to 121 years in prison if convicted on 26 indictments that include accessing and damaging computers, wire tapping and identify theft.

Chaney had been released on bail earlier this week on condition that he stay off the Internet. Wearing blue jeans, a shirt and a tie, he left the courthouse in a limousine with dark tinted windows.

"Celebrity information is highly marketable," Steven Martinez, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Los Angeles office, said earlier this week in reference to what was dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi."

"While the case against Mr Chaney involves celebrities who were targeted because of their fame, this case reminds us that we are all potential victims of ," added US Attorney Andre Birotte.

Aguilera's computer was hacked last December, when racy photos of her also hit the Internet. Kunis's cell phone was hacked in September with photos of her, including one in a bathtub, spread online.

Hacked pictures of Johansson, star of "The Horse Whisperer" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring," appeared in mid-September and showed her in a state of undress in a home setting.

The FBI alleges that Chaney used open-source, public information to try to guess a celebrity's email password, and then would breach the account.

He then allegedly communicated directly with contacts found in the hacked email account's address list and searched the account for photos, information and other data.

To control the account, Chaney is alleged to have altered the email's account settings to go to a separate, unrelated e-mail address that he controlled.

After gaining complete access to the hacked account, Chaney then used the contact list to "harvest" new targets, according to the FBI.

Explore further: Angry Bitcoin investors demand answers at Tokyo creditors' meet

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FBI arrests suspect over hacking Hollywood stars

Oct 12, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Wednesday the arrest of a suspect over the alleged hacking of Hollywood celebrities including Scarlett Johansson and Christina Aguilera.

FBI arrests suspect over Sony hacking

Sep 22, 2011

The FBI on Thursday arrested a member of the LulzSec hacking group suspected over a massive cyberattack earlier this year on Japanese electronics giant Sony, officials said.

Minn. man accused of hacking Facebook accounts

Apr 21, 2011

(AP) -- Prosecutors have accused a Minnesota man of hacking into other people's Facebook and other computer accounts and stealing photos of women to post on adult websites.

FBI smashes US-Egypt cyber 'phishing' ring

Oct 07, 2009

Investigators in the United States and Egypt have smashed a computer "phishing" identity theft scam described as the biggest cyber-crime investigation in US history, officials said Wednesday.

Calif. man used Facebook to hack women's e-mails

Jan 15, 2011

(AP) -- In a cautionary tale for users of social-networking sites, a California man has admitted using personal information he gleaned from Facebook to hack into women's e-mail accounts, then send nude pictures ...

Recommended for you

Google made failed bid for Spotify

6 hours ago

Internet titan Google tried last year to buy streaming music service Spotify but backed off for reasons including a whopping price tag, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Thieves got into 1,000 StubHub accounts

7 hours ago

(AP)—Cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 StubHub customers' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events through the online ticket reseller, a law enforcement official and the company said.

Putin signs law seen as crimping social media

18 hours ago

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law requiring Internet companies to store all personal data of Russian users at data centres in Russia, a move which could chill criticism on foreign social networking ...

User comments : 0