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October 13, 2011

Scarlett Johansson e-mail hacker arrested in Operation Hackerazzi

35-year-old man charged for hacking over 50 celeb emails including Johanssons' and posting nude photos online

By CBR Staff Writer

Federal authorities have arrested a 35-year-old man in Florida over charges of hacking into the email accounts of over 50 celebrity, including Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and Renee Olstead.

Authorities said that their year long investigation dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi" found that Christopher Chaney of Jacksonville not only hacked the email accounts but also posted of private and revealing information, including nude photos of Scarlett Johansson, on the Internet.

Chaney was released on $10,000 bond after an initial court appearance. He was charged with 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorised access to a protected computer and wiretapping, said AFP.

If convicted, Chaney faces up to 121 years in jail.

"It helps get out the message that cyber-hacking is a real threat," US Attorney Andre Birotte said.

Authorities revealed that Chaney hacked Google, Apple and Yahoo email accounts beginning last November through February working from his home computer in Jacksonville.

The FBI said that Chaney looked for potential passwords by mining details of the stars’ personal lives in magazine, websites and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

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After cracking the password, Chaney hijacked the forwarding feature in email accounts so that a copy of every email received was sent, "virtually instantaneously," to an email account he controlled.

"The case brings us to a new word in expanding lexicon of cybercrime — ‘hackerrazzi,’ " said Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"We continue to receive complaints involving the targeting of high-profile figures."

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