The man who hacked into the email accounts of celebrities including Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis has been sentenced to ten years behind bars.
Christopher Chaney, 35, of Florida was sentenced yesterday by a federal judge in Los Angeles. Despite the prosecution only having called for a six-year sentence, Chaney was given ten. On release, he’ll also serve three years of surpervised probation, with monitoring of his digital accounts.
Chaney operated by exploiting the ‘forgot password’ feature of email accounts. He’d use publicly available information to answer security questions and gain control of the account.
By setting up a ‘forward a copy of incoming mail’ facility, he was able to carry on harvesting the content of private emails, even after his victims had changed their passwords again.
Cheney used these techniques to hit more than 50 celebrities between November 2010 and October 2011, including Johansson, Kunis and Christina Aguilera.
In the case of Johansson, he gained access to nude photos that she’d taken for her husband and then posted them on the internet – something that left her feeling, she says, “truly humiliated and embarrassed.”
Chaney also sold some of the pictures to two online celebrity gossip sites.
“It’s hard to fathom the mindset of a person who would accomplish all of this,” said judge James Otero, according to news agency AP. “These types of crimes are as pernicious and serious as physical stalking.”