Posted on November 28, 2019 at 4:49 PM
The social media accounts of a top music producer and the cloud accounts of two music companies were hacked this week by Christian Erazo, a 27 years old man from Austin, Texas. He fraudulently got into their cloud-based music storage and stole songs that were yet to be released. He later uploaded the songs on different online music forums for free.
The U.S Department of Justice published a document on the case, stating that Erazo did not commit the crime alone. According to the document, he collaborated with three other accomplices on this hack.
When investigations were closing on him, he quickly tried to play a quick one by framing someone else.
The hackers went for the accounts of high-profile music producers in the industry. Their main target was the second-largest music management company in Los Angeles and another music company in New York.
From investigators’ reports, the culprits used employees’ credentials to gain access to the sensitive information in the music firms. When they got access to the company’s cloud storage, they downloaded over 100 songs that were yet to be released. It is reported that the hackers stole about 50 GBs of songs in a hacking spree that have lasted for several months, where they have accessed the cloud storage accounts more than 2000 times.
Social media accounts of top producer also hacked
Investigations also revealed that Erazo also hacked into the social media accounts of top artists and music producers. He and his accomplices hacked the social networking and microblogging accounts of a popular music producer based in Los Angeles.
The suspect even went further by sending private messages to other music artists and producers from the hacked account. He asked them to send their unreleased songs to the email address controlled by Erazo. When he succeeded in gaining access to about 100 songs, he released them in online forums for free.
An investigation about the main goal of the hacker is still ongoing, but the action almost damaged the reputation of the producer from whom Erazo leaked the unreleased songs.
How Erazo Tried to cover up his tracks
An investigation by U.S. officials revealed that Erazo started discussing with his accomplices on how to pin the hack on someone else in December 2016. They decided to throw the heat on another person to cover their tracks. They began executing their conspiracy plan from January 2017.
On 8th January, one of them emailed the N-York based producer, telling him that someone has stolen his unreleased songs and was selling them online for $300 a track.
Afterward, the music producer alerted authorities on the development. On the 18th of January, when Erazo and his accomplices called back the music producer, they were not aware they were speaking with an undercover agent.
Investigation revealed that Erazo pretended to be a Good Samaritan who wants to help the producer. Erazo and the investigator conversed via emails and the phone, where Erazo told him they are trying to help the producer because of their love for his songs.
But while Erazo and friends were discussing with the undercover agent, who posed as the producer’s security, they were still hacking the producer’s account.
Elazo and Friends charged and sentenced
The investigators realized that Erazo and his accomplices were behind both the hacking and their subsequent actions to frame another On Monday this week, A New York court charged them on three counts.
One count is for identity theft (with a minimum prison sentence of two years), another count is computer intrusion conspiracy (which comes with five years prison sentence), and the third count for wire fraud conspiracy (which carries a sentence of up to 20 years).
Hacking unreleased songs still prevalent in the Industry
This is not the first time a hacker has tried to steal unreleased songs from music producers this year. Just two months ago, a 19-year old British boy was charged for stealing unreleased songs from a British artist. Similar hacks have been happening in the music industry, including the 2012 Sony music hack, where over 50,000 unreleased songs were stolen and published online.