A 35-year-old Florida man was able to guess the passwords and crack into the email accounts of celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, authorities announced Wednesday after they arrested and indicted him on 26 counts of computer hacking, aggravated identity theft and illegal wire tapping.
If convicted on all counts, Christopher Chaney, who officials said apparently acted alone from his home computer with no plans to extort his victims, faces up to 121 years in prison.
The naked pictures of Johansson that circulated a month ago were believed to have been leaked by Chaney, who apparently gained access to address books and email accounts of other stars like Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera. “Unfortunately, Mr. Chaney was able to access nude photos of some of the celebrities and some of them were uploaded on the Internet,” acknowledged U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., according to CNN.
Officials in the FBI’s Los Angeles office said that Chaney was nabbed as a part of “Operation Hackerazzi,” a law enforcement effort to apprehend electronic stalkers who gain access to the private data accounts of celebrities and other prominent people.
Steven Martinez, an assistant director in the LA field office, said the office continues “to receive complaints involving the targeting of high-profile figures,” according to the Los Angeles Times.