Adrian Kwiatkowski, a hacker from Ipswich, England, who stole two unreleased Ed Sheeran songs has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, according to the BBC. Kwiatkowski sold Sheeran’s tracks along with 12 other songs by American rapper Lil Uzi Vert for £131,000 (US$148,000) worth of cryptocurrency on the dark web. British prosecutors said Kwiatkowski got his hands on the unreleased tracks by hacking into their cloud-based accounts. They didn’t specify which cloud services those were, but he stole many more artists because authorities found 1,263 unreleased songs in his possession.
US authorities launched an investigation back in 2019 after several musicians reported to New York City prosecutors that someone using the name Spirdark had hacked their accounts and sold their content online. Investigators eventually linked Kwiatkowski to the email address Spirdark used with the cryptocurrency account involved in the case. Also, his UK address was linked to an IP address found associated with one of the hacked devices.
When he was arrested, London police found seven devices containing 1,263 unreleased songs by 89 different artists. Authorities found other incriminating files on his hard drive, including a document in which he described the method he used to hack into victims’ accounts. They also found his bitcoins, which he admitted he received in exchange for the songs. In all, he pleaded guilty to 19 charges, including copyright infringement and possession of criminal property, enough to see him jailed for a year and a half.
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