26 Sep 2019
Several high-profile YouTubers hacked in massive attack: Details here
If you are a YouTuber with a subscriber count large enough to make significant money, better secure your channel!
ZDNet has reported that a number of YouTube creator accounts have been hacked in what appears to be a massive coordinated attack.
Here is all you need to know about the attack and the way to secure your channel.
Popular channels across genres hijacked
After speaking with a member of an internet forum formally engaged in trading of hacked accounts, ZDNet uncovered that a number of YouTube creators have been hacked lately.
The outlet didn't reveal the specific number of compromised accounts but said the victims include high-profile YouTubers in the car tuning and review community as well as those covering content on technology, gaming and music.
Apparently, these creators were phished
Though we can't be sure, ZDNet's conversation with the unnamed forum member indicates that the channels were hijacked through a well-coordinated spear phishing campaign.
As part of this, the creators were tricked into giving away their account credentials on a fake Google sign-in page. Their information went to the servers of the attackers, who then used the same to break into the YouTube channels.
Then, they transferred the channel, changed its vanity URL
After hacking into the channels, the attackers seemingly transferred their ownership to another user and changed their vanity URL, the unique link used to access the page.
This not only made the channel inaccessible to its real owner but also left its subscribers thinking the page and its content has been removed for good.
Notably, some 2FA-enabled channels were also compromised in the attack.
How to protect your channel?
Now that the threat is clear, you need to be extra careful while accessing websites to keep your account shielded.
Avoid clicking on suspicious links and try using a complex password created with a reliable password manager.
Finally, enable two-factor authentication for your Google but not by using SMS as the verification option. Try Google authenticator or your phone as the security key.
Apparently, someone got YouTuber information from a leaked database
"You can spam random people all you like, but you won't get access to accounts with good subs," the forum member said. "If there's a spike in complaints, then someone has a real nice database and their now getting a bang for their buck."
YouTube remains silent on the matter
YouTube, which has a community of 23M creators, has dodged the hacking claims by telling Forbes, "We have not seen evidence of an increase in hacking attempts over the weekend. We take account security very seriously and regularly notify users when we detect suspicious activity."