Two British newspapers have reported that Sony has had a major security breach and all Michael’s music files have been hacked. The reports made by Britain’s Sunday Times and Daily Mail newspapers claim that Michael’s entire back catalogue has been stolen by internet hackers.
It’s alleged they downloaded more than 50,000 music files, worth £160 million, in the biggest ever cyber attack on a music company.
The news comes just a year after Sony paid £250 million for the seven-year rights to the songs following Michael’s death. The contract with the Estate also allowed them to release ten new albums, including material from studio sessions produced during the making of some of his biggest albums. He had also recorded unreleased duets with artists ranging from the late Freddie Mercury and Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am.
Last April, details of seventy-seven million gamers were stolen after Sony’s Playstation Network was hacked. The breach cost Sony £106 million and huge damage to their reputation. The report claims that the attack on Michael’s files occurred shortly afterwards but has not been revealed until now. They say the hack was discovered during routine monitoring of social networking sites, Michael fan sites and hacking forums.
A source close to the company said; “Everything Sony purchased from the Michael Jackson estate was compromised. It caused them to check their systems and they found the breach. There was a degree of sophistication. Sony identified the weakness and plugged the gap.
The hack has compromised the work of other artists managed by the firm, including songs by Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon, Olly Murs, the Foo Fighters and Avril Lavigne.
On Saturday night Sony admitted there had been a security breach and that the Michael material had been stolen, but refused to say how much the hackers downloaded.
A source within the company said that although Michael’s Estate had been told about the hack, the company did not have to make the knowledge public as there was no customer data involved. They added that computer experts had traced the hack to the UK by examining a ‘fingerprint’ allegedly left behind. The Serious Organised Crime division took up the case and two men appeared in court last week charged with offences under the computer Misuse Act. They denied all charges and were remanded on bail.