Alleged Celebrity Hacker Could Face 121 Years in Prison
The man identified as the person who allegedly hacked into the email accounts of multiple celebrities is now apologizing, saying his scheme became addictive. INSIDE EDITION reports.
"It started as curiosity, and it turned into just being you know addicted to seeing behind the scenes of what was going on with these people you see on the big screen every day," said Christopher Chaney.
He's the creepy hacker who has the entire nation wondering whether they should change their e-mail passwords.
Chaney is charged with hacking into Scarlett Johansson's cell phone and stealing nude photos. He also broke into the e-mail accounts of Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera, and at least 50 other celebrities.
"It was almost like reading a completely uncensored blog," said Chaney.
Chaney is 35 years old, and he's from Jacksonville, Florida.
He says his arrest actually came as a relief.
"I was almost relieved months ago when they came in and took the computer," said Chaney.
The FBI's 11-month investigation into Chaney was dubbed Operation Hackerazzi.
Other celebrities in the indictment weren't named, but identified by initials like B.P. and J.A., sparking speculation that Brad Pitt and Jessica Alba were also victims.
So how did he do it?
Chaney didn't have any inside information on Johansson, Kunis, or Aguilera. He simply scanned celebrity magazines, as well as Twitter and Facebook, for public information on the stars.
Once he found out the names of the celebrities' pets, family members, and other personal details, Chaney would guess their passwords through trial and error.
After he hacked into one celebrity's account, he could learn the e-mail addresses of dozens of other big names.
"It's a warning really for all of us, it just wasn't that tough to get into these accounts," said Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos.
"What we need to do is change our passwords into more secure passwords immediately. That means using cryptic or complicated passwords that are strong enough that no one can get," said Sree Sreenivasan a digital media professor at Columbia University.
Now the hacker has a message for the famous victims of his sneaky hacking scheme.
"I deeply apologize, I know what I did was probably one of the worst invasions of privacy," said Chaney.
Chaney is charged with 25 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access, and unauthorized damage to a protected computer. He could face up to 121 years in prison. He's out of jail on bond, and is expected to be back in court on Friday.
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