Google researchers warn that Russian crypto scammers are targeting YouTube.

Researchers from Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) have revealed that YouTube, a video-sharing service owned by Google, is rife with phishing and crypto frauds. According to the experts, cybercriminals are hijacking YouTube channels to push phishing and frauds using cookie theft software. The operations were related to a group that was active on Russian forums, according to Google. Hackers may gain access to people’s passwords and even YouTube channel credentials using the software.

Cyber crooks are approaching YouTube viewers to defraud them using online games, anti-virus software, and photo-editing, according to TAG research. Hackers have also started using social media sites to drive their victims to phoney pages and get them to click on infected links.

Researchers also cautioned that these cybercriminals have been utilizing hacked YouTube channels to defraud investors by live broadcasting bitcoin material.

“A substantial number of hijacked channels were renamed for live-streaming bitcoin scams. To imitate huge tech or cryptocurrency trading organizations, the channel name, profile image, and content were all updated with cryptocurrency branding. In the report, Ashley Shen of Google’s TAG said, “The attacker live-streamed videos offering bitcoin rewards in exchange for an initial contribution.”

Further investigation found that hijacked YouTube channels were selling for $3 (approximately Rs. 225) to $4,000 on the black market (roughly Rs. 3 lakh).

In July 2020, Ajay Nagar, also known as CarryMinati, a popular Indian YouTuber, said that one of his channels had been hacked and was showing suspicious Bitcoin links to his subscribers.

Crypto-scammers have begun leveraging other channels, such as WhatsApp and Twitter, to illegally extract advantages from naïve crypto fans, in addition to YouTube.
Crypto-criminals hacked the verified accounts of numerous well-known celebrities last year, including Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian West, and Elon Musk, and uploaded contaminated Bitcoin links to entice their victims into a fraud.

Scammers have been trying to find new ways to take advantage of the growing crypto-culture on a worldwide scale.

Research published in April estimated that total crypto criminality in 2020 will be over $10.52 billion (roughly Rs. 79,194 crores).

In a recent analysis, analyst firm Chainalysis found that between July 2020 and June 2021, at least $815 million (approximately Rs. 6,135 crores) was delivered in crypto to fraud schemes from Eastern European countries.

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