Hackers place gun images in Vevo YouTube videos “just for fun”

On Tuesday, April 10, the most viewed video on YouTube temporarily vanished at the hands of hackers. Vevo, a popular music video hosting platform, later confirmed a breach that caused several of the company’s YouTube videos to be defaced and removed before returning a few hours later.

Two hackers that have dubbed themselves Prosox and Kuroi’sh appeared to have gained access to Vevo accounts early April 10, making changes to several popular music videos. The hacks were all linked to Vevo videos, but across several accounts for different artists’ Vevo accounts on YouTube. Among those videos are Despacito, a music video by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee that became YouTube’s most-watched video last year, along with videos by artists like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Shakira, Chris Brown, Selena Gomez, among others.

In several of the videos, the footage was replaced with an image of masked figures holding guns — a screenshot of the show Casa de Papel. Some videos also had the title image replaces. Along with taking credit for the hacks in the song names, some videos also had text to “free Palestine.”

Vevo confirmed the data breach but also said that it had been contained. The company said they are working to reinstate all the videos in the catalog that were affected.

On Twitter, one hacker appeared to claim responsibility saying, “it’s just for fun, I just use script ‘youtube-change-video-title’ and I write hacked. Don’t judge me I love YouTube.”

A security expert told BBC, however, that that type of hack was unlikely because the hacker would have to have an authorization token.

YouTube has not yet responded to a request for a comment.

Vevo is a platform for hosting music videos that offers tools like the ability to watch with friends. The platform is home to 330,000 videos and sees about 25 billion views every month. The company’s YouTube channel breach isn’t the first time the music platform has been on the end of a hack either. In 2017, hackers took internal files from scheduled posts to the alarm codes to the front door. In that case, OurMine, a hacking group that says they find security flaws, claimed responsibility.

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