Christopher Chaney, who has been accused of hacking into some Hollywood celebrities’ email accounts and peeking into their private photos and other information, such as movie scripts, offered a heart-felt apology and claimed that he just could not stop doing so, for he was addicted.
Chaney’s been released on a $10,000 bail.
In an interview with CNN affiliate WAWS/WTEV in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday, when reporter Chauncy Glover asked Chaney, what he'd like to say to people whose accounts were broken into, he said, I deeply apologize. I know what I did was probably one of the worst invasions of privacy that someone could experience.
And these people don't have privacy to begin with. And I was in that little sliver of privacy they do have. Chaney added.
In the same interview, Chaney described the hacking as started as curiosity and it turned into just being, you know, addicted to seeing the behind-the-scenes of what's going on with these people you see on the big screen every day.
He said that I've always used computers -- gaming, Facebook, things everybody uses computers for. Honestly I don't even remember how or when it started or with whom it started. It just happened and snowballed, he said, indicating that he just couldn’t stop.
Chaney felt almost relieved months ago when authorities stopped him. I didn't know how to stop doing it myself. I wasn't attempting to break into e-mails and get stuff to sell or purposely put it on the Internet. It just -- I don't know.
According to the charge, once Chaney hijacked a celebrity’s email accounts, he would be able to gain access to other celebrity victims with the help of the contact lists.
On Wednesday afternoon, Chaney initially appeared in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Florida. And, according to an FBI spokesman named Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles, Chaney was later released on a $10,000 bail.
Chaney has also been banned from accessing the Internet.
Chaney will have to appear in the same courthouse at 10:30 a.m. on Friday for an identity hearing, according to Eimiller.
Federal authorities announced on Wednesday that after an 11-month investigation, a 35-year old man named Christopher Chaney of Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested and accused of hacking into e-mail accounts and other devices for private information including movie scripts and private photos. Victims included many big-name entertainers such as Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis, Simone Harouche and Renee Olstead.
According to Steven Martinez, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, Chaney was able to access passwords of the celebrities’ Yahoo, Apples and Google email accounts by collecting information from publicly available sources.
It's simply that you may have selected a password that's meaningful to you that you may disclose online with friends, Martinez, said.
Your pet's name or whatever. That's a clue to a hacker, to start there.
Unfortunately, Mr. Chaney was able to access nude photos of some of the celebrities and some of them were uploaded on the Internet, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said Wednesday.
Chaney illegally obtained some private photos and leaked some nude photos of Scarlett Johansson to some celebrity sites and that was why many of these photos could be seen in many websites. But there was no evidence that he did this to get any profit, for it seemed that he had no plans to contact stars or sell his information.
And he himself said, I wasn't attempting to break into emails and get stuff to sell.
A federal grand jury has charged Chaney with 26 counts including identity theft, unauthorized access to a protected computer and wiretapping.
Chaney, who used the names trainreqsuckswhat, anonygrrl and jaxjaguars911, could be sentenced up to 121 years in federal prison if proved guilty of all the counts.
The case brings us to a new word in expanding lexicon of cybercrime — 'hackerrazzi,' Martinez said.