Christopher Chaney, “The Man Who Hacked Hollywood,” told GQ how easy it was to get into famous celebrities’ private email accounts.
Chaney, who leaked naked photos of Scarlett Johansson and read the personal emails of Christina Aguilera and Mila Kunis, explained how he hacked into the email accounts of numerous other beloved celebrities.
According to Chaney, who doesn’t consider himself a computer whiz — all it took was trial and error. Chaney put the celebrities’ first and last names together on Gmail until one of the combinations worked. After he discovered a working address, he clicked the “I forgot my password” button and waited for a random personal question to pop up.
Those questions typically are something like: “What’s your mothers maiden name?” “Where did you go to elementary school?” and “What was your favorite pets name?” Because information about celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and Christina Aguilera is so easily available, the answers to the questions were easy to find, he said.
Once he was in their email accounts, Chaney was able to snag other famous email addresses and crack their passwords as well. Before long, he had access to Ali Larter, Mila Kunis, and Busy Phillips’ emails.
While on his hacking journey, Chaney discovered things that the public — and even the tabloids — didn’t know about. He said he knew about Johansson’s pending divorce from Ryan Reynolds before anyone else.
“They were discussing, I guess, aspects of who gets what,” he told GQ. “It was weird to read stuff like that. It was almost too personal.”
While he gathered personal information, like which hot Hollywood guys are actually gay, he saw private photos of Johansson and Aguilera. Chaney said it gave him a high.
At first, Chaney said, “I didn’t want fame. It was a personal thing.” But later, as an online user pushed his buttons about his hacking abilities, he shared just enough personal photos to get caught. Those photos eventually leaked to celeb gossip site TMZ and, well, the rest is history. On December 8, 2010 his photos of Aguilera went viral, and later, the nude photos of Johansson.
The 35-year-old plead guilty to nine counts including unauthorized access to a computer and wiretapping and faces up to 60 years in prison along with $2.25 million in fines for hacking emails of more than 50 celebrities.