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Scarlett Johansson hacker sentenced to 10 years [Google+ hangout]

December 18, 2012 | 12:11 pm

Times crime reporters Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein will join city editor Shelby Grad at 12:30 p.m. in a Google+ hangout to discuss a Florida man sentenced to 10 years in prison for hacking celebrity email accounts, including those of Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera and Scarlett Johansson.

Christopher Chaney, 35, said he made no money from his actions, and had already pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to nine counts of computer hacking and wiretapping for the unauthorized access of email accounts of 50 people in the entertainment industry.

From Winton's Monday story:

Once Chaney got photos of the celebrities and other information, he forwarded the material to another hacker and two celebrity websites that made them public, according to a plea agreement.

Chaney has admitted that from at least November 2010 to October 2011, he hacked into the email accounts of Johansson, Kunis and others by taking their email addresses, clicking on the “Forgot your password?” feature and then resetting the passwords by correctly answering their security questions using publicly available information he found by searching the Internet.

Prosecutors said that once Chaney gained exclusive control of the victims' email accounts, he was able to access all of their email boxes.

While in the accounts, Chaney also went through their contact lists to find email addresses of potential new hacking targets, according to prosecutor Lisa Feldman.

Most victims did not check their account settings, so even after they regained control of their email accounts, Chaney's alias address remained in their settings, the plea agreement said. Copies of their incoming emails, including attachments, were sent to Chaney for weeks or months without his victims'  knowledge, allowing him to receive thousands of emails, according to the plea agreement.

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--Richard Winton

Photo: Mila Kunis, left, Christina Aguilera and Scarlett Johansson were among the celebrities whose email accounts were hacked by Christopher Chaney. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times; Hannes Magerstaedt / Getty Images; Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

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