35-year-old hacker admits that he got so addicted to celebrity hacking that the FBI raid came as a relief
Christopher Chaney, the hacker who was arrested from Florida las week, has admitted that he hacked into the email accounts of over 50 celebrities, including that of actress Scarlett Johansson, which led to the spread of nude photos of Johansson and other information in the Web world.
Chaney, 35, has said that he will plead guilty at the Los Angeles court where he is slated to face federal charges.
Chaney told Jacksonville’s WTEV he began celebrity hacking out of curiosity.
He said that he quickly became addictive "seeing the behind-the-scenes of what’s going on with the people you see on the big screen."
Chaney said the addiction was so bad that he was almost relieved when the FBI raided his home and seized his computers a few months ago after they concluded a nearly one-year ‘Operation Hackerazzi".
Chaney also said that he wanted to apologise to the celebrities, which include Christina Aguilera and Renee Olstead. However he added that he never intended to blackmail them or leak private information.
"Someone contacted me wanting the pictures," said Chaney.
"I don’t even know who it was. No, I didn’t give that person any pictures. I never wanted to sell or release any images."
"I know what I did was probably the worst invasion of privacy someone could experience. I’m not trying to escape what I did. It was wrong. And I have to just face that and go forward," Chaney said.
Earlier authorities had 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 has been charged with 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorised access to a protected computer and wiretapping.
If convicted, Chaney faces up to 121 years in jail.
Authorities have 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.
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.