Celebrity hacker gets ten years
A Los Angeles court has sentenced 36-year old Christopher Chaney to ten years in jail and fined him more than $66,000. In March, Chaney admitted to having hacked the computers and email accounts of more than 50 singers and actresses. Victims included Christina Aguilera, Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and Renee Olstead.
Chaney pleaded guilty to nine offences, including illegal wire-tapping and unauthorised access to computers. In his guilty plea, Chaney admitted to having repeatedly hacked email accounts over a period of at least eleven months. He hacked into email accounts by taking advantage of the "forgotten password" feature on web interfaces and using publicly available information to answer security questions.
He then configured the accounts to forward email to his own email address. As a result, all email sent to the legitimate user of each hacked account was forwarded to him. Chaney also sent out emails pretending to be the victim and asked contacts for private photos. To identify further targets, Chaney went through address books from hacked accounts.
Hacking into other people's computers seems to have become something of an addiction for Chaney. After the FBI had confiscated his computer, he used another computer to hack into another email account. He shared the photos and information he obtained with another hacker and posted it on two gossip websites.
According to the FBI, which conducted the investigation, the presiding judge stated that the accused showed a callous disregard for his victims. Chaney is reported to have stalked two unnamed victims for more than ten years. Judge S. James Otero also noted that extreme emotional distress can be as devastating as physical injury. The sentence was originally expected to be delivered in July.