FBI agents confirmed in a press conference today that “Operation Hackerazzi” has yielded a suspect. Authorities arrested Floridian Christopher Chaney, 35, in connection with a hacking and wire tapping operations that violated the privacy of celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Hudgens, Jessica Alba, Mila Kunis, and Christina Aguilera. According to agents, Chaney used open-source technology for more than a year to learn victims’ passwords and change them, then communicated via e-mail with their personal contacts, harvesting friends’ email addresses to find new victims.
“These hackers are very, very sophisticated,” said Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI Los Angeles area. “It is a constant cat-and-mouse game.” Added Martinez, “This is not just a celebrity issue.” The agents said they had no information to suggest that [Chaney] profited” from the naked photos of celebrities including Johansson, though he did commend stars like Johansson for allowing their names to be put forth to assist in the capture of the hacker. Chaney made his first court appearance in Jacksonville, Fla. He faces up to 120 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Agents confirmed that the Bureau is open to the possibility that more hackers could be identified. “These people are, quite frankly, scum.”