How hackers are hijacking YouTube accounts to run ads for cryptocurrency scams

Google’s Risk Investigation Group has shared aspects about a extended-managing phishing marketing campaign targeting YouTubers. The marketing campaign, apparently remaining carried out by hackers recruited in a Russian-speaking discussion board, employs “pretend collaboration chances” to bring in YouTubers, then hijacks their channel making use of a “pass-the-cookie assault,” with the objective of either selling it off or making use of it to broadcast—of course—cryptocurrency cons.

The attacks commence with a phishing e-mail supplying a promotional collaboration. Once the offer is agreed, the YouTuber is despatched a connection to a malware web page disguised to glimpse like a obtain URL. This is exactly where the real action starts: When the target runs the software, it pulls cookies from their PCs and uploads them to “command and manage servers” operated by the hackers. 

Acquiring those cookies, as Google points out, “permits obtain to person accounts with session cookies stored in the browser.” This suggests hackers don’t need to stress about thieving the YouTuber’s login qualifications, because the cookies helps make remote web pages imagine they’re already logged in.

“Cookie theft” is in fact an outdated digital hijacking strategy that’s experiencing a resurgence among unscrupulous actors, potentially for the reason that of the prevalent adoption of protection precautions that have designed more recent hacking procedures extra challenging to pull off. Two-component authentication, for instance, is a common safety feature on significant internet websites these days, but is ineffective towards cookie theft. (You ought to even now undoubtedly be employing it where ever feasible, even though.)

“More safety mechanisms like two-variable authentication can current considerable road blocks to attackers,” College of Illinois Chicago laptop or computer scientist Jason Polakis explained to Ars Technica. “That renders browser cookies an very valuable resource for them, as they can stay clear of the further stability checks and defenses that are induced through the login method.”

A “large amount” of channels hijacked this way are rebranded to impersonate big know-how corporations or cryptocurrency exchanges, and then commence jogging streams promising cryptocurrency giveaways in exchange for an up-entrance payment. Those people that are offered off on account-buying and selling marketplaces fetch from $3 to $4000, dependent on the number of subscribers they have.

Google claimed it can be lessened the amount of money of phishing email messages related to these assaults by 99.6% because Might 2024, and has blocked about 1.6 million emails and 2,400 documents sent to targets. As a consequence, attackers are setting up to shift to non-Gmail suppliers, “typically electronic,, and” But the huge challenge in cybersecurity, as usually, is the human factor. Phishing e-mails can be remarkably misleading (I’ve fallen for at least a single myself, and I know about this things), and once the wheels start turning on that procedure it can be quite challenging to quit. 

The promise of “something for practically nothing” has excellent attract too: The huge Twitter hack that transpired in 2024 (which essentially commenced with a “cellular phone spear phishing assault”) siphoned much more than $100,000 from victims in a one working day, basically by promising to double their Bitcoin contributions as a way of “giving back again to the local community.”

Originally posted 2021-11-11 12:40:20.