Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Ke$ha have all suffered the same fate this year with pre-release songs and materials being stolen by overzealous fans. Two fans have been arrested over allegations that they deliberately targeted the singers own computers and homes , their agents systems and the systems of their record labels with software designed to gain unauthorized access to information.

Songs were accessed and, if the reports are to be believed, this resulted in the early release of several singles.

So what are the risks and lessons to be learnt?

Risks

The obvious risk is that the songs are made available, through the web free of charge or for a fee. This would have an impact on the revenues which could be generated for the musician, their agent and the record company.

Not so obvious, could be, the potential for the overzealous fans, to gain access to personal information belonging to the singers themselves on their own home computers. This could be worth more in terms of financial reward.

Lessons

I have mentioned before what I call the information security chain. In our inter-connected society, to secure a single piece of information, in this case, a musicians materials/songs, you need to have a chain of information security best practice across several independent parties who have some form of relationship.

Here the musicians, agents and record label all have a responsibility to ensure the confidentiality of information. They all have vested interests which are put are risk should a breach of information security occur. Some of them are commercial and some are personal.  Many of the vulnerabilities, which could be exploited, are the same. As are the threats.  However there are some nuisances and any of these parties should understand these and make every effort to secure them to protect their interests and privacy.

On a final note, the efforts of these two fans show the lengths that people will go to access information, in this case songs, without permission. This highlights the mistaken belief that many people have, including celebrities, agents and record labels, that they are highly unlikely to be targeted by such attacks by anyone, least of all fans. No one is exempt from such attention.

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