A Florida man was charged with hacking into the emails of dozens of people, including Christina Aguilera, Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis, in a computer invasion scheme that targeted Hollywood celebrities, according to documents released Wednesday.
Christopher Chaney of Jacksonville hacked Google, Apple and Yahoo email accounts beginning last Novemberand December, then hijacked the forwarding feature so that a copy of every email received was sent, “virtually instantaneously,” to an email account he controlled, according to an indictment handed up Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.
There were more than 50 victims, including actress Renee Olstead, according to the indictment.
Chaney offered some material, including photographs, to celebrity blog sites and some of the files and photographs ultimately were posted, according to an FBI statement.
Chaney allegedly used the hacker names “trainreqsuckswhat,” '‘anonygrrl” and “jaxjaguars911.” He is charged with 25 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access and unauthorized damage to a protected computer.
The FBI announced that it had made an out-of-state arrest Wednesday morning in a year-long investigation of celebrity hacking that was dubbed Operation Hackerazzi.
A message seeking comment was left on an answering machine for a Christopher Chaney in Jacksonville. There was no answer at a telephone listing for another Christopher Chaney.
Nude shots of Johansson appeared on an Internet site earlier this year and TMZ.com reported that hackers stole them from her cellphone.
Celebrities and people in the news have long been targets of privacy invasion but concerns have redoubled in the Internet age.
In Britain, publisher Rupert Murdoch closed down the News of the World this year after contentions that the tabloid routinely hacked into people’s phones in the hunt for exclusive stories.
The paper, which had published for 168 years, faced allegations of systematically intercepting private voicemail of those in the news — including a teenage murder victim.