If you’ve been keeping up with tech news this week, you’ve likely heard about, or seen first-hand, how several YouTube channels have succumbed to a widespread cyberattack. Over the course of the last week or so, many channels have had their security compromised by attackers, who have taken to broadcasting fake live streams advertising Bitcoin scams. In many ways, the attack echoes a recent breach on Twitter which generated thousands of dollars in scammed Bitcoin after a Twitter employee was paid off to give hackers access.
Whilst the details of the hacks themselves vary slightly, one core theme remains. All of them feel totally let down by YouTube.
Yet the YouTube saga is very different from the recent Twitter breach in a number of ways, most significantly in YouTube’s seemingly lax response to the problem. We caught up with three major YouTube creators to find out exactly what happened to their channels, and what happened when they went to YouTube for help. Whilst the details of the hacks themselves vary slightly, one core theme remains. All of them feel totally let down by YouTube.
I spoke with Craig Groshek, director/owner of Chilling Entertainment, and the administrator of Chilling Tales for Dark Nights, an audio horror entertainment channel of more than 1,500 videos and 340,000 subscribers, about what happened.
Not only was Craig a victim of the hack, he has also been vocal on Twitter in trying to get help for many of the other creators who have been caught up in the scandal. Two such channels are “itsAamir,” and “PapaFearRaiser.” Between the two of them, they have nearly two million subscribers. Like Groshek, Aamir, and Jordan (PapaFearRaiser) Antle both had their channels compromised, and they too kindly agreed to share their stories.
Aamir, Antle, and Groshek all discovered that their YouTube accounts had been compromised over the course of the last couple of weeks. All three channels were found to be broadcasting live Bitcoin scam videos encouraging users to send in Bitcoin to a BTC address with the promise the money would be doubled. The videos looked like the below image. All three also found that most, if not all of their YouTube videos had been made private, and their channels had been rebranded. This was common across all of the hacks we’ve seen on YouTube.
Source: Craig Groshek
“My channel was compromised on July 29, 2020, at around 4 PM CT,” says Groshek. “Hijackers totally bypassed 2FA and did not change my passwords, or attempt to redirect my AdSense. Rather, they set all my videos to private except for three, and put up Bitcoin scams live, and changed my name to Tesla, as well as my logo. They removed all my playlists and channel connections, and emptied my channel description.”
Many were quick to cry SIM swapping and some kind of 2FA bypass as some of these hacks unfolded. However, the stories of all three of our creators here…