Celebrity hacker Christopher Chaney has said that he will plead guilty to five counts of hacking into the email of top celebrities.
Chaney hacked into the email of Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis and Scarlett Johansson, whose nude photos eventually landed on the internet.
The charges include unauthorised access to a computer and wiretapping, and he faces up to 60 years in prison.
According to Associated Press, Chaney was arrested in October as part of a year-long investigation of celebrity hacking that authorities dubbed “Operation Hackerazzi”.
Prosecutors claimed he hacked into the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry, including Aguilera and Johansson. Nude photos Johansson had taken of herself were later posted on the internet. Aguilera also had private photos put online.
Johansson told Vanity Fair the naked snaps were meant for Ryan Reynolds, who is now her ex-husband.
Chaney, who did not work for News International, mined through publicly available data to figure out password and security questions for celebrity accounts.
He then hijacked a forwarding feature so that a copy of every email a celebrity received was sent to an account he controlled and waited for the news to roll in.
Chaney’s computer hard drive contained shedloads of private celebrity photos and a document that compiled their extensive personal data.
He was allegedly giving the photographs to gossip websites and another hacker, but was not making any money from it. He has since said sorry.