Florida man 'fesses to naked Scarlett Johansson outrage
Hot pics nicked from email boxes, leaked to gossip rags
A Florida man has admitted hacking into the email accounts of celebrities including Mila Kunis and Scarlett Johansson.
Christopher Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, Florida, agreed on Monday to plead guilty to nine felony charges including computer hacking and wiretapping, AP reports.
The plea follows Chaney's arrest in October following a year-long police probe codenamed Operation Hackerazzi, which was sparked by the unauthorised publication of nude pics of female stars on the net.
Prosecutors suspect Chaney broke into the email accounts of more than 50 entertainment luminaries, including Christina Aguilera and Johansson. Nude self-portrait photos of Johansson, which were meant only for her for her then-husband Ryan Reynolds, were leaked online following the hacks.
It seems Chaney guessed the security reset questions of celebrity accounts using publicly available information, the same tactic used to hijack the webmail account of Sarah Palin at the time the former Governor of Alaska was running for vice-president.
Having gained privileged access to a star's email account, Chaney changed the settings so that every email received by the account was forwarded to an address under his control. Chaney subsequently forwarded the celeb photos he received to two gossip websites and another hacker. There is no suggestion that he profited financially from his celebrity hacking hobby, a factor that may count as mitigation when it comes to sentencing.
"Chris has been very cooperative with prosecutors, he's remorseful for any of the harm caused to the stars, and just looks to a resolution of the case," defence attorney Christopher Chestnut told the news agency. ®
I'm still a bit puzzled by what "harm he caused the stars," exactly. I mean, inconvenience, certainly, but "harm"? I find it odd that he's potentially facing a 100-year sentence (at least according to the news reports I've read), whereas the bloke who killed Michael Jackson got, what, 4? Does seem odd to me that filching someone's cell phone pics is, in the eyes the law, more harmful than killing them. How else can we explain the discrepancy in maximum jail terms?
The important thing above all else
The man found himself in possession of nude pictures of fine Scarlett. Any man who finds himself in that position is morally obligated to share this bounty with his fellow men, the online brotherhood of porn oglers. He discharged his duty honorably, and should be celebrated as the hero and martyr that he is.
Let's stand up a fund to keep him in snacks while he's away.
It's certainly not a very hard exploit but it's still obtaining unauthorized access to an electronic service and would be subject to the same penalties.
Some of the blame should go to the service provider for asking really stupid security questions. While it's possible some savvy person mightn't truthfully answer "whats your mother's maiden name?" the reality is that the vast majority of people would. As such it's crap security, particularly when the answer is easily discoverable.