Celebrity hacker gets decade-long prison sentence

The man who “humiliated and embarrassed” Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and more than 40 other celebrities was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on Monday at a court in Los Angeles.

U.S. District Court judge also ordered Christopher Chaney, 36, to pay a fine upwards of $66,000 as compensation for what have been called “perverted and reprehensible” actions.

The Florida-based culprit was arrested last fall and has been in prison since March of this year after pleading guilty to nine felonies.  Computer hacking and wiretapping topped the list, along with several other crimes. He faced up to 120 years in prison for the offenses.

According to the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s office, Chaney accessed email accounts of the stars by resetting their passwords using the common “forgot your password” feature. After closely monitoring celebrities’ Twitter and other social media accounts for key words like pet names and more, he was able to correctly answer the security questions for the password resets.

Once inside the accounts, Chaney stole contacts to target his next victims. He also set the email accounts to forward duplicates of all incoming messages to his own email account, so that even after the celebrities reclaimed their accounts, Chaney still had complete access.

Among the sensitive material he stole were private photographs, business contracts, letters, and personal information such as driver’s license and Social Security Numbers. The FBI shared in a statement that Chaney also sent emails from the hacked accounts asking for more photographs.

“That feeling of security can never be given back and there is no compensation that can restore the feeling one has from such a large invasion of privacy,” said victim Christina Aguilera.

Email account hijacks and other breaches of security are all too common. Whether you are a high profile person or a business of any size, computer security is of high importance. Find the right IT Security professionals to secure your sensitive information through Tiro Security, a leading provider of information security jobs Los Angeles.

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