Stolen accounts have always drawn the attention of the cybercriminals and are the most prominent commodity in the darknet marketplaces. The cybercriminals can very easily purchase the stolen accounts to use for pennies on the dollar. They are aware that these could be much beneficial to them, and this trend does not seem to fade anytime soon. Having experienced with almost all types of accounts, the cybercriminals are now in the search for YouTube Accounts.
YouTube Accounts are considered to be the most valuable type of user accounts. All across the best dark web websites, the posters on the various hacker forums are involved in the sale of pre-loaded with followers to monetize and ready-to-use accounts. In this case, if you are not aware or careful, your account(s) could probably be the prey of these cybercriminals.
You might question, how exactly is this happening? As the fact turns out, the phishing attacks are largely on the rise that is successful in tricking the users of the internet into giving away their account login credentials. The problem has taken an enormous shape and went worse during the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic.
Researchers Unearth An Overwhelming Fact on YouTube Accounts For Sale On Dark Web
As mentioned by the security researchers at InSights, the YouTube Accounts are turning to be the chief target for the cybercriminals and hackers who are in search of the golden opportunity to monetize their dirty work. Most of the users of YouTube are not in the crosshairs. Nonetheless, if you happen to have several hundred or several thousands of followers on your channel, your username and password could be susceptible to getting breached.
Lately, the researchers at InSights have tracked a rapidly growing demand for the compromised accounts on YouTube on different largest dark web forums. Most of these accounts on sale on the dark web links, seem to have been theft via the phishing attacks. These accounts are also compared to the accounts on the various other platforms.
It has also been seen that the prices of the YouTube Accounts can get the cybercriminals thousands of dollars. But the costs of the accounts will typically vary based on a few factors such as the number of subscribers the account bears and whether or not the particular account is monetized. This refers that the YouTuber in question is able to generate and receive revenue from the advertisements of all kinds that play during the videos.
Of the total of 31 million content creators, on the YouTube platform, merely around 16,000 have a million or more subscribers on their channel. The more is the subscribers in an account, the more money the YouTuber can make through their videos. As a result, the cybercriminals purchasing these YouTube Accounts are omitting the most crucial steps in building a successful career on YouTube. Rather than earning valuable subscribers over time, they are gathering head start that permits them to immediately make money off their subscribers – whether they are aware or not.
As soon as a purchaser claims an account, they are typically put to use in either of the two ways:
- The hacker takes control over the accounts and uses them to spread more and more phishing links that could trick the other YouTubers (such as the in-built subscribers) into handing over their own accounts.
- Contacting the legit account owners through email to demand a handsome ransom.
Unless and until the problem gets under control, the hackers and the cybercriminals stand a chance to become wealthier to some extent at the expense of the ordinary YouTube users.
Researchers State Ways To Protect Your Accounts on YouTube
It is an undeniable fact that the YouTube Accounts are put up for sale on the dark net sites link and are dangerous for all the reasons that have been discussed before. But there is a critical issue that might go unnoticed by some (not by the cybercriminals or hackers) – The accounts on YouTube are actually Google Accounts.
The Google accounts are the gateway to all the personalized Google experience of the users. Meaning, if a hacker or cybercriminal can access your YouTube Accounts, they would get tho your search history, what you have been watching till date and all the emails you have sent and received through your Gmail.
Protecting your account’s privacy is vital. Even now, phishing is the main vector of attack. Thus, the typical methods of avoiding the unknown emails and its attachments are the rigid ways to stay safe. Hostile or malware websites can still compromise your accounts, even without the requirement of opening a phishing message or link.
In this regard, the researchers say that two-factor authentication (2-FA) is most useful. Setting up of this particular service will need anyone logging into type a code that has been sent to your smartphone. Without the physical availability of your smartphone, the hacker can solely go till this far. You can choose to turn on this service on your email account linked to your YouTube channel.
Once the two-factor authentication is enabled, all of the Google services on that email will be protected. This even includes your YouTube Accounts, your search history, Gmail and the Google Assistant. This provides you to stay one step ahead of the hackers and the cybercriminals. If you are a YouTuber with millions of the subscribers and the hacker happens to keep trying to get you, 2FA might not be a foolproof solution.
In this regard, it has been found out that the cybercriminals have successfully devised a kind of malware by the name “Modlishka” that has the potential to redirect the 2FA messages to a different destination. It takes up a lot of hard work to set it up. But in case the financial incentive is luscious, hackers will keep on trying, which is not even counting Sim Swapping (another method used by the smartphone hackers in the bid to steal 2FA texts).
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