Entertainment

Hacker who stole Ed Sheeran’s unreleased songs jailed

An 18-month sentence has been imposed on a hacker who stole two unreleased songs from Ed Sheeran and sold them on the dark web.

Sheeran’s music and 12 songs by the rapper Lil Uzi Vert were exchanged for cryptocurrency by Adrian Kwiatkowski.

The 23-year-old Ipswich resident was able to access them by breaking into the performers’ online accounts, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

19 offenses, including copyright infringement and possession of illegal property, were admitted by Kwiatkowski.

According to City of London Police, he had earned £131,000 from the music.

565 audio files, including those for the songs by Sheeran and Vert, were found when the defendant’s Apple Mac laptop was checked, Ipswich Crown Court was informed.

US officials first opened an inquiry in 2019.

The New York District Attorney was informed by the management of many singers that a hacker going by the online handle Spirdark had gained access to a number of accounts and was selling the content.

The email address used to create Spirdark’s bitcoin account was connected to Kwiatkowski by the inquiry. An IP address used to hack one of the devices was also connected to his home address in the UK.

Kwiatkowski was eventually detained in September 2019 after the City of London Police received a referral for the case.

Seven devices, including a hard drive with 1,263 unreleased songs by 89 musicians, were reportedly seized by the authorities.

The way he had used to obtain them, along with a hoard of Bitcoin that was seized, was summarized in a document kept on the hard drive.

Joanne Jakymec, the chief crown prosecutor, claimed that Kwiatkowski showed “total contempt” for the musicians’ originality, labor, and lost income.

He stole their songs out of self-interest in order to resell it on the dark web and profit.

“We will pursue ill-gotten earnings from these criminally generated revenue.”

At the Ipswich Magistrates Court in August, Kwiatkowski entered a plea of guilty to three counts of unauthorized access to computer data, fourteen counts of selling copyrighted material, one count of converting criminal property, and two counts of possessing criminal property.

He also acknowledged getting bitcoins in exchange for the tracks.

Detective Officer Kwiatkowski was highly adept, but Daryl Fryatt regretted that he had misused his abilities.

He said, “He denied some artists and their production businesses the opportunity to disseminate their own work, which not only caused them great financial loss.

The case, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr., demonstrated that “cybercrime knows no borders.”

He claimed that “this person carried out a sophisticated strategy to steal unreleased music in order to line his own pockets.”

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