A Criminal Hacking Case Shows How Easy It Is to Steal Music

Posted by Jamie Richards

On November 27, 2019

| Author: Amy X. Wang | Source: rollingstone.com |

27-year-old Christian Erazo allegedly hacked into social networking and cloud accounts of music management firms to download and leak 50 gigabytes of music

Music leaks won’t stop springing up. After a year of fake Beyoncé releases and botched Radiohead blackmail, a 27-year-old man was arrested for allegedly stealing more than 50 gigabytes of music from industry executives’ computers, all from logging into their online accounts.

According to the indictment filed by U.S. authorities on Monday in Manhattan federal court, Christian Erazo gained access to the internet cloud storage service accounts of two unnamed music management companies to download around 50 gigabytes of music — including unreleased tracks — from 20 recording artists between 2016 and 2017; the indictment says he also accessed a Los Angeles music producer’s social networking account and impersonated the producer to solicit unreleased music from artists via private messages. Erazo faces charges of aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the last of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Erazo and co-conspirators obtained login credentials to the cloud storage account of one of the music management companies and accessed it at least 2,300 times, the indictment says; forensic analysis of Erazo’s computer also revealed that he’d stolen more than 850 music files from the various parties. His further “scheme to defraud artists” involved messaging artists from the music producer’s “microblogging” account and asking them to send exclusive unreleased tracks to a fraudulent email address he’d set up. “I cant stop laffin [sic],” he and an unnamed co-conspirator said to each other in online messages, describing the scheme as “the funniest shit I done.” Per the indictment, Erazo pretended to help one of the music companies investigate its leaks by pinning the actions on a company employee, which he told his co-conspirator was “the perf cover-up.”

When questioned by law enforcement, Erazo admitted to taking “approximately 50 gigabytes of music, which translated to approximately “100 high-quality songs” from the cloud storage accounts.

“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,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement.

The prosecution of the case is being handled by the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.

Jamie Richards

Jamie has been in music since he was three years old. He began playing the piano by ear and by 11 he was writing his own music. As he got older he picked up other instruments and at around 16 found his passion for sequencing music on the computer. He's been in countless bands and written over 100 songs. His music is featured on this website. You can listen to his stuff before you buy it. Now he's found a love for researching and writing for this blog. Jamie is a proud father of three plus two grandsons, Elijah and Isaiah.

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