Naked Scarlett Johansson pic snatch 'is worth 6 years' porridge'

Prosecutors want crackdown on saucy sleb webmail plunder


Prosecutors have called for tough penalties and mid-level fines against the self-confessed Scarlett Johansson nude photo hacker.

Christopher Chaney, of Jacksonville, Florida, 35, pleaded guilty in March to hacking into the webmail account of numerous celebs including Mila Kunis and Scarlett Johansson and changing settings to forwards emails to accounts under his control.

The tactic allowed Chaney to gain access to personal emails and photographs sent through smartphones and linked webmail services, including images of celebs in various states of undress that were intended for viewing only by their partners. Johansson said her photos were sent to her then-husband Ryan Reynolds three years prior to their publication last year.

Risque photographs harvested by Chaney found their way onto gossip websites. Police, called in to investigate the leaks, soon traced the hacks back to Chaney, resulting in his arrest.

"In most cases, Chaney accessed the administrative settings on the victims’ accounts so that all of their emails would automatically be forwarded to a separate email account that he controlled.

"This form of wiretapping allowed Chaney to continually receive victims’ emails even after a password had been reset," explains an FBI statement issued at the time of his arrest last October.

The offences took place between November 2010 and February 2011. Chaney used the contact books of compromised accounts to draw up list of fresh victims to target. It's unclear how he obtained access to targeted accounts but guessing password reset questions would seem the most likely approach.

Prosecutors are calling for judges to jail Chaney for six years (71 months) and for him to pay more than $150,000 in restitution, celeb news site TMZ reports.

Specifically, Chaney ought to pay $66,000 to Scarlett Johansson, $77,000 to actress and singer Renee Olstead and $7,500 to Christina Aguilera for the publication of semi-nude snaps, allegedly grabbed from her personal stylist's account.

The police investigation (dubbed Operation Hackerazzi) was launched following a wave of hacking attacks against the email accounts of around 50 celebrities including Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus as well as Johansson and Aguilera.

Chaney says his webmail photo hacking exploits were driven by compulsion. He claims to have obtained evidence using the same techniques that various male celebrities are secretly gay.

There's no evidence of extortion and little suggestion that he tried to sell the illicit content he purloined. These mitigating factors may count in his favour when he appears in a Los Angeles federal court for a sentencing hearing, scheduled for 23 July.

Commentary on the security aspects of the case, principally the need to secure and monitor webmail accounts, can be found in a blog post by Graham Cluley of Sophos here. ®


Other stories you might like

  • How to keep a support contract: Make the user think they solved the problem

    Look what you found! Aren't you clever!

    On Call Let us take a little trip back to the days before the PC, when terminals ruled supreme, to find that the more things change the more they stay the same. Welcome to On Call.

    Today's story comes from "Keith" (not his name) and concerns the rage of a user whose expensive terminal would crash once a day, pretty much at the same time.

    The terminal in question was a TAB 132/15. It was an impressive bit of kit for the time and was capable of displaying 132 characters of crisp, green text on a 15-inch CRT housed in a futuristic plastic case. Luxury for sure, unless one was the financial trader trying to use the device.

    Continue reading
  • Apple kicked an M1-shaped hole in Intel's quarter

    Chipzilla braces for a China-gaming-ban-shaped hole in future results, predicts more product delays

    Intel has blamed Apple's switch to its own M1 silicon in Macs for a dip in sales at its client computing group, and foreshadowed future unpleasantness caused by supply chain issues and China's recent internet crackdowns.

    Chipzilla's finances were robust for the third quarter of its financial year: revenue of $19.2 billion was up five per cent year over year, while net income of $6.8 billion was up 60 per cent compared to 2020's Q3.

    But revenue for the client computing group was down two points. CFO George Davis – whose retirement was announced today – was at pains to point out that were it not for Apple quitting Intel silicon and Chipzilla exiting the modem business, client-related revenue would have risen ten per cent.

    Continue reading
  • How your phone, laptop, or watch can be tracked by their Bluetooth transmissions

    Unique fingerprints lurk in radio signals more often than not, it seems

    Over the past few years, mobile devices have become increasingly chatty over the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol and this turns out to be a somewhat significant privacy risk.

    Seven boffins at University of California San Diego – Hadi Givehchian, Nishant Bhaskar, Eliana Rodriguez Herrera, Héctor Rodrigo López Soto, Christian Dameff, Dinesh Bharadia, and Aaron Schulman – tested the BLE implementations on several popular phones, PCs, and gadgets, and found they can be tracked through their physical signaling characteristics albeit with intermittent success.

    That means the devices may emit a unique fingerprint, meaning it's possible to look out for those fingerprints in multiple locations to figure out where those devices have been and when. This could be used to track people; you'll have to use your imagination to determine who would or could usefully exploit this. That said, at least two members of the team believe it's worth product makers addressing this privacy weakness.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021