Crypto scam takes one of the biggest YouTube channels offline

Several YouTube channels under the Linus Media Group (LMG) brand have been taken offline after being hijacked by crypto scammers. The main Linus Tech Tips YouTube channel, which has over 15 million subscribers, is offline, as are the TechQuickie and TechLinked channels. It appears that all three were affected by the same hackers.

The channel went live briefly on Thursday morning, promoting fake livestreams that included pre-recorded footage of tech figures like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey talking about cryptocurrencies. Streams redirect to websites embedded with cryptocurrency scams.

Hacked version of Linus Tech Tips youtube channel.

Although the accounts have been suspended for the time being, the hackers also exposed several videos of the channel that were set Personal, which includes approval video drafts and test clips for sponsors. It’s not clear when the account will be restored or how many videos will be back, but LMG is situation aware,

LMG is not the first to experience this type of hack. Over the past year, several fake VEVO channels have popped up around big album releases promoting the same fake livestreams. Some artists include Kendrick Lamar and Drake.

These types of scams can spread quickly because of the way they are designed. If you’ve subscribed to a channel, YouTube will notify you when the channel starts a livestream, unlike when the channel just uploads a video. Scammers usually change the channel name and icon, and due to overtaking popular, verified channels, display a badge indicating that they are a legitimate channel.

Same was the case with LMG. The main Linus Tech Tips YouTube channel retained its logo and badge, but the logos of the other smaller channels were changed to the Tesla logo. Channels are usually named “teslaliveonline” or something similar.

YouTube has seen an uptick in hacking from crypto scammers over the past year, and the company has yet to implement any features to mitigate the problem. Due to the widespread nature of the hack and the targeting of high-profile channels, it is clear that the platform needs features to mitigate the potentially devastating impact of such hacks.

The affected LMG YouTube channels are currently offline. We will update this article when they are reinstated.

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