Though he didn't have a very strong technical background, the 35-year-old Florida resident was able to access the personal email accounts of Hollywood's elite. So how'd he do it? Mostly by trial and error—guessing each star's email address, then resetting their account passwords based on pet names, hometowns, mother's maiden names and where they went to school.
"You find the right pieces," he told GQ in a recent interview. "And then it unlocks."
Each time he accessed more personal details about a celebrity victim, Chaney got a "rush." It was "the whole Star Trek thing," he said. "Going where no man has gone before."
Chaney claims he was suddenly in on Hollywood's inner workings. "Everyone dated everyone eventually," he said. "It always reminded me of [Beverly Hills] 90210."
In October, following a yearlong investigation, Chaney was arrested. He now faces up to 60 years in prison and a $2.2 million fine. He apologized to his celebrity victims and said he felt "almost relieved" to have finally been caught.