Neebs Gaming, a highly popular YouTube gaming channel boasting of 1.88 million subscribers, was hacked over the weekend by unidentified crypto scammers, who changed its name and banner to Coinbase Pro to collect Bitcoin from its viewers/subscribers.
According to a Reddit user “Bamila,” the scammers used the name of Coinbase Pro’s CEO Brian Armstrong to lure the viewers into clicking a link that promised free Bitcoin giveaways. They live-streamed a video titled “Coinbase CEO announced the greatest crypto Air-Drop 10,000 Bitcoin, Live,” offering viewers up to 10-times more returns if they send bitcoin to the given wallet address.
Moreover, the hackers stole footage from one of the live AMA videos Armstrong made in April 2019 and used it in their livestream video, which was watched by about 95,000 people. So far, the Bitcoin address mentioned in the video has received over 20 different transactions and accumulated around 2.465 BTC (US$24,000).
The incident was confirmed by Neebs Gaming promptly on Saturday, February 15 and in a series of Tweets the channel can be seen complaining about how unresponsive and unhelpful YouTube has been in this issue. The channel remained hijacked until February 17, which is definitely a concerning issue for the platform’s community of creators.
URGENT: It looks like our YouTube account has been hacked. PLEASE DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS IN OUR VIDEOS. Hackers are known for attaching bogus links to hacked accounts. we will keep you posted once the situation has been resolved @YouTube please help us with this
— Neebs Gaming (@NeebsOfficial) February 15, 2020
At the time of publishing this article; the compromised Neebs Gaming channel was restored.
This incident highlights two important issues. One, YouTube doesn’t respond timely or offers help to its community. In fact, YouTube’s response in this particular incident has been criminally negligent as it simply posted a comment that read “Sorry to hear about this – can you still sign in to your YouTube channel?”
Secondly, the trend of using a YouTube livestream feature to trap users and steal cryptocurrency is rising steadily and viewers need to be careful while watching videos offering rewards that seem too good to be true.
This, however, is not the first time when scammers took over a popular YouTube channel or used YouTube for a crypto-related scam. In 2018, hackers used exploited ads on YouTube to mine monero cryptocurrency from CPU of visitors. In another incident, last month, a YouTube channel called Pogo with over 840,000 subscribers was also hijacked by scammers to promote Ethereum scam.