‘Hackerazzis’ Begin their Celebrity Stalk

HackerAs recent breaches into the mobile phone of Scarlett Johansson sent a nude picture of the actress circulating on the Internet, a new breed of hacker has formally arrived: the Hackerazzi.

Christopher Chaney has been dubbed a Hackerazzi since he was accused of breaking into the e-mail accounts and mobile devices of celebrities like Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis, Simone Harouche and Renee Olstead. He now faces 28 counts, including unauthorized access to a computer and wiretapping. If convicted, he faces up to 121 years in prison. The Florida man has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

How were the stars’ mobile phones and e-mail accounts hacked? Apparently, it may have been as simple as sifting through publicly available data to find the keys to password and security questions, such as a pet’s name or a mother’s maiden name. Once he gained access, Chaney allegedly used a forwarding feature so that a copy of every e-mail the celebrity received was sent to an account he controlled.

It’s another warning for all to be on guard with strong passwords and privacy settings on social media, as some hackers are reportedly creating Facebook “zombies” to harvest personal information. It’s also a scary reminder that personal questions to bypass e-mail security should be carefully considered and never coincide with information you post on social-networking sites.

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