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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
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10 Years in Prison|for Hacking Hollywood

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Florida man will serve 10 years in federal prison for hacking into dozens of Hollywood figures' email accounts, including Scarlett Johansson's, federal prosecutors said.

Christopher Chaney, 36, of Jacksonville, was sentenced Monday and ordered to pay $66,179 in restitution, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

At his sentencing, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero accused Chaney of "callous disregard" for his victims, particularly two non-celebrity victims whom he "stalked" for more than 10 years, according to the U.S. attorney.

Chaney has been in jail since March, when he pleaded guilty to nine felony counts, including wiretapping and unauthorized access to protected computers. He hacked into email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry, prosecutors said.

In pleading guilty, Chaney said he hacked into email accounts by clicking on the "forgot your password?" feature and resetting the passwords by answering their security questions he guessed by using publicly available information he found on the Internet. Once into their email boxes, he went through their contract lists to find new targets. He also changed their email account settings so he would get copies of all their incoming emails.

He seemed to be addicted to it: "Even after his home computers were seized by law enforcement, Chaney used another computer to hack into another victim's email account," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

He got private photos, business contracts, letters, Social Security information and other personal information, prosecutors said, and emailed some of it to another hacker and to two celebrity gossip websites. Some of the stolen photos were posted on the Internet.

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