Scarlett Johansson, your long, naked nightmare may be over: The FBI has arrested a man it suspects of hacking into email accounts of celebs and their friends to procure and distribute revealing personal pictures.
Christopher Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested Wednesday after a yearlong investigation dubbed Operation Hackerazzi by the FBI in Los Angeles.
Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera were, along with Johansson, officially confirmed as victims courtesy of an indictment unsealed Wednesday. Their names have been frequently mentioned in connection with the story as it unfolded.
Documents: Read the eight-page, 26-count indictment
So how is Chaney alleged to have done it? The Times' celeb crime specialists Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton (Harriet Ryan and Victoria Kim are on the Dr. Conrad Murray trial related to the death of Michael Jackson) heard it like this from law enforcement:
Mining details of the stars' personal lives in celebrity magazines and websites as well as Twitter and Facebook posts, Chaney looked for potential passwords that would give him access to their accounts, the FBI said. The name of a dog. A favorite movie. An old address. A sibling's nickname.
Once he cracked the password, officials charged, he hit a gold mine, gaining access to the stars' address books as well as any photos and other files saved on their emails. He used an email forwarding program that automatically duplicated any messages the stars received into his account. So even when the celebrities change their passwords, he'd know about it, officials said.
Chaney told a Florida news station that he knew what he did was wrong, but got so hooked on it he didn't know how to stop.
"It started as curiosity, and it turned to just being addictive," he told Action News in Jacksonville. "Seeing the behind-the-scenes of what's going on with the people you see on the big screen."
The FBI said Chaney didn't intend to sell the images, one of which was described by a Ministry staffer (in not so many words) as revealing that Johansson possessed a lower half granted by a higher power.
Despite saying he was sorry and posting $10,000 bond, Chaney is essentially grounded at his parents' house now, with absolutely no Internet privileges. He faces up to 121 years in prison if found guilty on all counts.
Wait till the judge gets home.
P.S.: Crime guys Blankstein and Winton are all over this and other stories daily on L.A. Now. Follow them on Twitter for timely and often juicy updates: @anblanx and @LAcrimes.
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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photos: From left, Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera and Scarlett Johansson. Credits: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times, left; Hannes Magerstaedt / Getty Images, center; Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images