Florida Man Arrested in Celebrity Hacking Case

Wednesday, 12 Oct 2011 03:11 PM

 

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LOS ANGELES — Federal officials arrested a Florida man on Wednesday and charged him with 26 counts of cyber-related crimes against Hollywood celebrities following an 11-month federal probe dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi."

Victims included actresses Scarlett Johansson, "Black Swan" star Mila Kunis and pop singer Christina Aguilera, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

Christopher Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested Wednesday morning by FBI agents and accused of targeting individuals in the entertainment industry by hacking into personal e-mail accounts, the statement said.

In September, "Iron Man 2" star Johansson joined a list of Hollywood celebrities including "High School Musical" actress Vanessa Hudgens and film star Jessica Alba, who have had private photos leaked online at the hands of hackers.

In the Johansson photos, the 26 year-old actress was shown in a towel with an exposed backside, while another showed her topless. The pictures were posted on several celebrity gossip websites before eventually being taken down.

The FBI said on Wednesday that their investigation had identified more than 50 victims, but the indictment against Chaney listed specific incidents of hacking into the computers or cell phones of only 11.

Wednesday's arrest followed a scandal involving media giant News Corp following revelations that employees of one of the company's London newspapers had hacked into the cellphones of celebrities and members of the public. It was not immediately known if the two cases were linked.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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