Celebrity hacker to plead guilty

Summary:Christopher Chaney is expected to plead guilty on Monday for hacking into the e-mail accounts of multiple celebrities, including Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis, and Scarlett Johansson.

35-year-old Christopher Chaney of Jacksonville, Florida, has agreed to plead guilty on Monday for hacking into the e-mail accounts of multiple celebrities. He gained access to nude photos and other private information belonging to Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, and other victims identified only by their initials (B.P., J.A., L.B., and L.S.).

Chaney has been charged with nine criminal counts, including unauthorized access to a computer and wiretapping, according to a plea agreement filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, according to CBS News, although he will likely get less time behind bars because of federal sentencing guidelines.

Chaney was arrested last October after an 11-month investigation dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In the plea agreement, prosecutors say that between November 2010 and October 2011, Chaney hacked into the accounts of more than 50 members of the entertainment industry. He obtained private communications, photos, business contracts, scripts, and other information from his victims. An FBI search warrant said Chaney's hard drive contained numerous private celebrity photos and a document that compiled their extensive personal data.

According to prosecutors, he then forwarded some of the private photos to another hacker and two gossip websites, but authorities found no evidence showing he profited from his scheme. Chaney says he did not leak the photos, explains he was doing the hacking out of pure curiosity, and apologized for his actions. As you can see in the video above, courtesy of The Washington Post, he appears remorseful in the interview, which was taken shortly after his indictment.

See also:

Topics: Security, Government, Government : US

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.