Israeli arrested for hacking Madonna's computer, leaking new songs

The months-long international investigation, conducted between the FBI and Lahav 433, the police's special investigation unit, led investigators to a 39-year-old Tel Aviv resident.

Hacking into Madonna's computer (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE,REUTERS,JPOST STAFF)
Hacking into Madonna's computer (illustrative)
Madonna has been “Hung Up” on Israel for a long time, but she might not want to “Open Her Heart” to the country any more following Wednesday’s news of being hacked by an Israeli.
The Israel Police special investigation unit Lahav 433 arrested a 38-year-old Tel Aviv resident on suspicion of hacking the computers of several musical artists, including Madonna, and stealing unreleased music to sell online.
In December, a slew of demos from Madonna’s album-in-progress, Rebel Heart, leaked online, forcing the superstar to release six tracks and move up the release date of the full album, which was due to come out in March.
Despite her best efforts, Madonna could not keep the hackers “Frozen” out, but releasing the album for pre-order as an “early Christmas present” to her fans worked out well. It went to the top of the iTunes charts in 43 countries.
Madonna will likely view news of progress in the case as a welcome “Ray of Light”; she had previously called the leaks of her unfinished music as akin to artistic “rape” and terrorism.
“I have been violated as a human and an artist!” she wrote on Instagram.
The police, who worked with the FBI in investigating the leaks, searched the suspect’s home, seizing computers, accessories and other media. They are charging him with computer trespassing, fraud and intellectual property offenses. (Even for a “Material Girl,” intellectual property is important.) The star is set to perform at this year’s Grammy awards, and possibly at the Brit awards as well. Madonna, who practices Kabbala, opened her last world tour in Tel Aviv in 2012, after closing her previous tour here as well.
In related news, Icelandic artist Björk released her new album two months early this week after the album was leaked online.
Michelle Malka Grossman contributed to this report.