Posted on March 31, 2020 at 11:11 AM
Dozens of YouTube accounts have been hijacked by hackers and renamed to different Microsoft brands. The hackers are using the compromised account to disperse Ponzi messages, with former Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Gates used in the scheme.
The hacking activity is part of the growing concerns of hacks on YouTube, where cybercriminals take hold of popular accounts to issue a classic “crypto giveaway” message. In the message, the victims are deceived to send a small number of crypto coins to scammers with a promise to double the amount. However, the victims do not get their money back, let alone the doubled amount.
In the past, such scams were very popular on Twitter. However, it seems hackers are now taking the same scheme to YouTube, as several cases have been discovered. When Twitter started bringing down the pages of these Ponzi schemes, they decided to take their hacking trade to YouTube, and there has been an increased number of attacks for the past few weeks.
Presently, the hackers have hijacked more than 30 YouTube profiles, where they are streaming one of Bill Gate’s old messages on startup. The particular message the hackers were using in the Ponzi scheme is the tech talk Bill Gates delivered at the Village Global in June last year.
However, the hackers added some information to the message and asked users to take part in a scammy giveaway. They made the entire message look real and current, which could easily deceive some users.
Ponzi scheme streaming live with hijacked accounts
Security researchers have revealed that the hackers are streaming the message on different account channels with names such as Microsoft News, Microsoft Europe, Microsoft US, and so on.
Spokespersons for YouTube and Microsoft said the hackers did not hijack any of Microsoft’s verified account, although some users have reported about streaming scams that appeared on non-verified Microsoft accounts.
Nonetheless, a majority of the live streams discovered were streaming from YouTube channels having high subscriber accounts. The accounts were seized from YouTube users before they were renamed to look like legitimate Microsoft accounts, making them look more real to the victims.
Bogus accounts have already received money
Reports revealed that some of those accounts held by the scammers have received thousands of dollars, which means some of the users have already been deceived into paying money into their accounts.
The stream statistics on YouTube showed that thousands of people have already watched the live stream, and some of them are among those who were fooled into paying some money in the scammers’ accounts.
Other companies also impacted by the scam
The total hijack and scamming incident did not only affect Microsoft. The scammers also used other organizations as a front for their scamming activity.
One of the affected was a popular German-based hacking forum, The Chaos Computer Club. The hackers seized the forum’s account to send phony messages through its network.
Recent hacking events have shown that the cybercriminals can go to any extent to achieve their aim. As recently as January this year, the scammers went straight to seize the YouTube account of YouTube’s founder.
Apart from bill Gates, some of the chief executives of prominent companies have seen their names being used by scammers to fool victims. It’s an age-long hacking scheme that is gradually resurfacing.
The cryptocurrency community is not left out as many crypto scams have used the names of popular figures in the cryptocurrency industry to perpetuate their hacking attack.
Just last week, the crypto community discovered a fake YouTube account that impersonated Brad Garlinghouse, Chief Executive of blockchain giant Ripple.
The bogus account has about 277,000 subscribers, with one video that offers fake promotional giveaway for XRP. The video has already received more than 85,000 views, and some of the viewers have fallen victim to the scam.
Although YouTube is gradually facing out this type of scam, the cybercriminals may find other means to launch their attack. Security experts have advised users to avoid meeting requests from prominent accounts, even if they looked genuine and real.