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Alleged celebrity email hacker apologizes

October 13, 2011 |  7:53 am

Mila, Christina and Scarlett

This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.

A Florida man who allegedly hacked into the personal email accounts of Hollywood celebrities, including Scarlett Johannson and Christina Aguilera, apologized and said he was ready to face the consequences.

Christopher Chaney told Action News of Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday that the scheme "started as curiousity and it turned to just being addictive."

Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, was named in a criminal indictment Wednesday by the FBI in Los Angeles.

"What did you do with the info you found in those emails?" Chaney was asked in the interview.

"Nothing, it was almost like a completely uncensored blog," Chaney said. "I wasn't saving the emails to blackmail someone."

"So, why did you do it?" he was asked.

"It started as curiosity and it turned to just being addictive," answered Chaney. "Seeing the behind-the-scenes of what's going on with the people you see on the big screen."

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 in their email folders.

He used an email forwarding program that automatically duplicated any messages the stars received into his account. So even when the celebrities changed their passwords, he would know about it, officials said.

Chaney, who officials said appears to have been unemployed, was arrested this week in Jacksonville on various hacking charges and faces up 121 years in prison if found guilty on all counts.

Chaney says his thrill for celebrities turned into such a strong addiction he says he didn't know how to stop.

"I was almost relieved when they came in and took the computers inside," he told the TV station.

"I deeply apologize," Chaney said. "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."

[For the Record, 8:53 a.m. Oct. 13: The headline on an earlier version of this post referred to a phone hacker. The case involves email hacking.]


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