Date: 13th October 2011
The FBI arrested a Florida computer hacker Wednesday for allegedly hacking into the computers of Hollywood stars including Scarlett Johansson and Christina Aguilera, the agency said.
Christopher Chaney, 35, was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida as a result of an 11-month investigation into hacking of over 50 celebrity victims also including the actress Mila Kunis, the FBI said in a statement.
Aguilera's computer was hacked last December, when racy photos of her also hit the Internet. Kunis's cell phone was hacked in September with photos of her including one in a bathtub spread online.
Steven Martinez, in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Los Angeles office, called Chaney's alleged actions a new form of, "hackerazzi," a play of the word, "paparazzi," of celebrity photographers.
"Celebrity information is highly marketable," Martinez said at a press conference in Los Angeles.
"While the case against Mr. Chaney involves celebrities who were targeted because of their fame, this case reminds us that we are all potential victims of computer hackers," added US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.
The FBI statement's victim list included Kunis, Aguilera, Johansson plus victims only identified by their initials.
These included J.A. -- the TMZ website reported that actress Jessica Alba was among the victims. When asked if initials, "B.P." were for Brad Pitt, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte, Jr., replied, "I can't comment. Nice try, though."
Chaney faces up to 121 years in prison if convicted on 26 indictments, including accessing and damaging computers, wire tapping and identify theft. He used three aliases to carry out the attacks.
The hacked pictures of Johansson, star of "The Horse Whisperer" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring," appeared in mid-September and showed her in a state of undress in a home setting.
In one she was had a towel wrapped round herself with her face to the camera, her unclothed rear view clearly visible in a mirror. In other photos she was topless, and apparently photographed herself with a smartphone camera, taking at least one shot on a bed.
Birotte confirmed that all the Johannson photos are suspected to have been hacked by Chaney.
Source: Press Release