YouTube Phishing: Targeting YouTube Content Creators

Social media platforms are users’ go-to for information, gossip, sharing, and creating. The same is true for businesses. Social media is a business’s gold mine for more sales and revenue.

Social media has recently surpassed paid search as an advertising channel in 2022. The growth rate was 25% year-over-year, reaching $137 billion, just slightly more than Search’s $135 billion. This information comes from Sprout Social, a social media management and intelligence tool. In fact, 96% of small businesses use social media as their main source of advertising.

Content is key when it comes to effective social media marketing. Video content is even more important. Many people favor a short video over a long post. This brings us to this month’s “Phish of the Month,” YouTube Phishing.

Share By Video Feature

Cybercriminals have developed a new threat targeting YouTube content creators. Bad actors send phishing malware through the platform’s Share Video By Email feature. Bad actors load malicious files from what appears to be a legitimate YouTube email address –

The email lures the targeted audience into opening malicious files. Instead of the typical phishing attempt of spoofing an email address, this attack pinpoints targets by leveraging the platforms’ sharing system.

The phishing email includes a link to a Google Drive file and informs victims of a new monetization policy. The targets are then notified that they have seven days to respond. Failure to respond results in access to their account being restricted.

Two-Step Verification

TeamYouTube responded to the phishing email with a warning on Twitter. “Be cautious. Do not download or access any file if you receive an email similar to the one shown below.” The fake email is signed “YouTube team”.

TeamYouTube has recommended that content creators enable two-step verification to protect their Google/YouTube accounts. Once enabled, Google will notify the account owner if someone tries to sign in from a new location or device. Google will send a unique code as an added layer of security helping to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the account. 

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