A UK 19-year-old allegedly targeted ‘award-winning international superstars’ by breaking into their websites and cloud-based accounts to steal recorded music.
UK police have arrested a suspected hacker with fake id for stealing unreleased music from recording artists and trying to sell the looted files for cryptocurrency.
The 19-year-old suspect allegedly targeted “award-winning international superstars” by breaking into their websites and cloud-based accounts to access recorded music, the City of London Police said in a Friday statement.
The arrest was based on a tip from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in New York, which has been investigating the hacks based on referrals from the artists’ management companies. The 19-year-old suspect was not named, but he was arrested in Ipswich on suspicion of committing copyright infringement and computer misuse crimes.
“Today’s action marks a significant point in our investigation into the individuals responsible for stealing music and selling it on illegal streaming websites, worldwide,” Detective Inspector Nick Court said in a statement.
None of the artists were named, but the arrest occurs after Radiohead said in June that a hacker stole unreleased music from singer Thom Yorke’s minidisc archive. However, in this case, the hacker threatened to release the music files unless Radiohead paid $150,000. In response, the band decided to release and sell the music, saying the recordings were “only tangentially interesting.”
How the hacker gained access to the Radiohead files is unclear. According to Pitchfork, it may have involved someone breaching a third party who was archiving Radiohead’s music on the band’s behalf. The stolen files were then possibly traded on the digital black market before reaching a collector who tried to extort Radiohead.
The Manhattan D.A.’s office told PCMag: “Unfortunately since this case is being prosecuted in the UK, we are bound by their laws and practices pertaining to ongoing investigations and pending cases, so the information in the press release is the extent of what we can provide at this point.” The City of London Police declined to comment on the case.