A 27-year-old hacker demonstrated just how easy it is to acquire and leak unreleased music, according to an indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
Christian Erazo and a group of other hackers allegedly hacked the social media and cloud accounts of various music producers and managers in order to obtain and subsequently release 50 gigabytes of confidential data. Much of this data is said to be yet unreleased music.
Authorities believe that the scheme Erazo was involved in took place during a one-year period that went from the end of 2016 to the end of the following year. They further believe that Erazo first hacked the social media accounts of producers and then sent private messages to various artists, asking them to send him unreleased music to email addresses that he controlled, which appeared to belong to the actual producers.
A subsequent forensic search of Erazo’s computer found 850 stolen digital music files.
Erazo is further accused of hacking the cloud-based accounts of a pair of music management companies. The indictment alleges that he was able to do this, at least in part, because one of the employees of one of the management companies had provided him with sensitive information.
Eventually, Erazo admitted to the crimes. Then, on November 25, authorities arrested Erazo and charged him with the following:
- Conspiracy to commit wire fraud
- Conspiracy to commit computer intrusion
- Aggravated identity theft
The identity theft charge alone carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman issued a brief statement in conjunction with the sealed indictment. He said, “Not only did this scheme cause the companies, producers, and artists financial harm, Erazo deprived the artists of the ability to release their own exclusive content at their discretion.”
So far, none of the victims of the attacks have been named. But they include music artists, producers and managers in both the United States and abroad.