Yesterday hackers managed to deface a number of music videos listed on multiple VEVO YouTube channels.
Some of the affected content included the 2017 hit song, and currently most-watched YouTube video of all times, ‘Despacito’ by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. After recently becoming the first video in the YouTube history to top over the 5-billion views milestone, the Spanish-language song was briefly taken down by the hackers. Tens of other musical videos posted by VEVO featuring high-profile pop icons such as Shakira, Drake, Taylor Swift, Chris Brown, Maroon 5, Adele, DJ Snake, Katy Perry were also affected by the cyber-attack. All defaced videos were from VEVO accounts on YouTube.
The hackers who call themselves with nicknames Prosox and Kuroi’SH managed to change the thumbnails of some of the music videos with an intimidating gang image from the Netflix TV show called Casa de Papel (also known as Money Heist). The pictures showed a group of people wearing masks and pointing guns. The cyber gang also included various politically influenced slogans such as ‘Free Palestine ‘ and added their nicknames to the titles of some VEVO videos. Briefly, VEVO’s front page was retitled to “X – Hacked by Kuroi’SH & Prosox.”
After spotting the unusual activity, YouTube and VEVO worked hand in hand to contain the situation. The identities of the hackers who performed the cyber-attack are currently unknown. Hours after the incident Google-owned YouTube released a statement reminding its users that even though VEVO videos are on YouTube, and Google has roughly 7% stake at VEVO, VEVO does not belong to YouTube, and YouTube was not hacked. Briefly explained, YouTube is a platform that allows everyone to upload content, and VEVO is a joint venture run by Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment. VEVO keeps its content on separate servers, and only lists music videos of performers contracted with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
The videos are then syndicated to YouTube and VEVO website.
After a particularly rough night for VEVO, the situation is currently under control! Earlier today the American video hosting service provider released a statement confirming the defaced videos are back on their website. Our investigation shows the view counters on YouTube were not affected either, and after the brief take-down Despacito rose from the ashes to continue being the most watched YouTube video ever.
While things may be back to normal for VEVO, the hackers who claimed responsibility for the breach are aiming shots at many video influencers and even at YouTube’s CEO. In a tweet sent yesterday, they claimed that they’ve managed to access the accounts of Colombian singer Shakira and video-sharing website’s CEO Susan Wojcicki. The Twitter account that made the claims was later suspended. Currently, there is no proof that any of these statements are true.
Even though this looks like a prank, it shows how vulnerabilities could be used against people and businesses. Panda security reminds you of the importance of having quality antivirus software installed on all your connected devices. The better equipped you are, the harder it will be for hackers to gain access to information stored on your cell phone, tablet, laptop, Mac or a PC.