Adrian Kwiatkowski, an English hacker from Ipswich who stole two unreleased Ed Sheeran songs, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail. Kwiatkowski sold Sheeran’s songs on the dark web, along with 12 additional songs by American rapper Lil Uzi Vert, for bitcoin worth £131,000 (US$148,000). According to UK authorities, Kwiatkowski obtained the unreleased music by hacking into their cloud-based accounts. They didn’t say whose cloud services he stole from, but officials discovered 1,263 unpublished tracks in his hands, suggesting he stole from a lot more musicians.
After many artists claimed to the New York District Attorney’s office that someone using by the moniker Spirdark had hacked their accounts and was selling their material online, authorities in the United States initiated an investigation in 2019. Kwiatkowski was subsequently connected to the email address Spirdark associated with the bitcoin account implicated in the case by investigators. Furthermore, his UK address was connected to an IP address discovered in connection with one of the compromised devices.
When he was apprehended, London cops discovered seven devices containing 1,263 unpublished tracks by 89 different artists. Authorities discovered further damning files on his hard drive, including one in which he described the approach he used to get into the victims’ accounts. They also discovered his Bitcoins, which he confirmed getting in exchange for the tunes. He pleaded guilty to 19 offenses totaling almost a year and a half in prison, including copyright infringement and possession of illicit goods.