Hackers Who Leaked Celeb Photos Could Face Jail Time

How legal cases turned out for other celeb hackers.

ByABC News
September 2, 2014, 4:01 PM

— -- The hackers who leaked explicit photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton will likely face jail time, if previous cases are any indication.

The FBI said it is actively investigating the case, after dozens of private, risqué photos of stars appeared online late Sunday, and the U.S. Justice Department has a history of taking a hard stance against hackers who target celebrities –- though prison sentences have varied.

In December 2012, Christopher Chaney was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into the personal email accounts of stars including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera.

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Chaney, from Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles of counts that included wiretapping and unauthorized access to a computer.

In March, Jared Abrahams, a computer science student from southern California, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into the personal computers of several women, including Cassidy Wolf, a former Miss Teen USA. He demanded they send nude photos and videos, or else risk their explicit photos being leaked online.

Abrahams, 19, pleaded guilty to extortion and unauthorized access to a computer.

Months earlier, Karen "Gary" Kazaryan of Glendale, California, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into hundreds of online accounts and using extortion to coerce women into sending naked photos.

In the most recent case, the photos were hacked by targeting the celebrities' user names and passwords, according to Apple, rather than breaching Apple's iCloud system as a whole. Hacking is a computer crime, and at least one of the affected actresses, Jennifer Lawrence, has been clear about wanting to prosecute, through a statement by her attorney.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on this specific case or speculate on any specific charges.

The photos have sparked concerns about cyber safety, and the security of storing photos and videos on the cloud.