ABS-CBN YouTube channels hacked by crypto scammers

Two of ABS-CBN’s YouTube channels were reportedly compromised earlier today, November 3, 2020. ABS-CBN News and ANC 24/7, both actively airing news updates and have a huge number of subscribers – more than 10 million and 300,000 respectively, were taken over by some unknown hackers.

The two Kapamilya YouTube channels streamed a cryptocurrency video allegedly from Ripple. Those who are familiar with the live-streamed video would know that it’s not from the crypto giant. A simple google search would lead you to a number of reports associated to YouTube crypto scams that leverage on online video channels with high engagement and followers.

Netizen Jeffrey Paaño Lumabi shared screenshots of the Ripple crypto scams that were aired on both ABS-CBN News and ANC 24/7 channels before they both went offline.

ABS-CBN immediately coordinated the security incident to YouTube who took down the accounts leaving hundreds of netizens confused with what really happened to the online news channels. There were initial speculations that YouTube terminated them due to certain violations of their terms of service. Others were even linking the incident to some political parties.

Cyber Security Philippines – CERT released an advisory saying that ABS-CBN’s YouTube account has been compromised linking it with other similar incidents wherein “Youtube accounts [are] being taken over, content wiped and most often used to distribute malicious and pornographic media, at worst, the attackers extorted money from the social media owners.”

Information security researcher and vlogger Japz Divino detailed on his latest vlog what might’ve happened behind the ABS-CBN compromised accounts. Reacting to his fellow vlogger who also got hacked by YouTube crypto scammers, the ethical hacker made use of the video as a sample scenario that possibly happened to any of the administrators of ABS-CBN News and ANC 24/7 YouTube channels.

ABS-CBN already released an official statement after their two accounts have been restored at around 4PM. The company confirmed that a security incident happened which took over their YouTube channels. They added that the investigation is still on-going and that they have implemented security measures to prevent this from happening again.

According to a separate report from Philippine Star, a YouTube spokesperson also confirmed the hacking incident on ABS-CBN’s two channels.

This security incident just shows how important it is to secure all our online accounts even if they’re not as risky as our financial accounts. Who would’ve thought that even YouTube channels are now being targeted to scam people, right?

Now that vlogging has become one of the most popular hobbies by both celebrities and non-celebrities alike, their owners should put an extra layer of security to ensure that their platform won’t be the next to air a YouTube crypto scam.

Fjordan Allego
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