Christina Aguilera: Celebrity hacker stole sense of security
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A Florida man who hacked into celebrity email accounts was sentenced Monday to prison after several big-name victims including Scarlett Johansson and Christina Aguilera made statements via videotape.
Aguilera said in a tape played in court: ‘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.’
Johansson’s videotaped statement was played in U.S. District Court on Monday as Judge S. James Otero sentenced Christopher Chaney, 35, to 10 years in prison.
Chaney, who has maintained he made no money from his actions, had already pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to nine counts of computer hacking and wiretapping for the unauthorized access of email accounts of 50 people in the entertainment industry.
Once Chaney got photos of the celebrities and other information, he forwarded the material to another hacker and two celebrity websites that made it public, according to a plea agreement.
‘I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed,’ said Johansson, whose then-husband Ryan Reynolds’ email was hacked. ‘I find Christopher Chaney’s actions to be perverted and reprehensible.’
Actress Renee Olstead, the 23-year-old star of ABC Family Channel’s ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager,’ appeared in court and described how much the stolen naked images had hurt her.
‘I just really hope this doesn’t happen to someone else,’ Olstead said, sobbing. ‘You can lose everything because of the actions of a stranger.’
Olstead said she comes from a conservative family and worked for a family network. She said she considered suicide after the photos were released.
Chaney has admitted that from at least November 2010 to October 2011, he hacked into the email accounts of Johansson, Kunis and others by taking their email addresses, clicking on the ‘Forgot your password?’ feature and then resetting the passwords by correctly answering their security questions using publicly available information he found by searching the Internet.
Most victims did not check their account settings, so even after they regained control of their email accounts, Chaney’s alias address remained in their settings, the plea agreement said. He continued to receive copies of thousands of their incoming emails, including attachments, for weeks or months without his victims’ knowledge.
-- Richard Winton