Hacking, Accusations Of Clickbait Affecting Many Popular YouTubers

If you noticed the titles to your favorite YouTube videos changed in the past few weeks, you are not alone. Several notable Youtube channels were hacked at the hands of the security hacking group OurMine in just the latest of their notable advertising stunts.

The affected channels, all comprising the YouTube network Studio71, had titles and descriptions changed as a result of the hack. Instead of the title that was originally chosen by the creator, videos now read “#OurMine,” with the descriptions stating that they were just testing the account holder’s security.

“Hey, it’s OurMine, don’t worry we are just testing your security, please contact us for more information,” the descriptions read.

In a report for Hollywoodlife.com, an anonymous member of OurMine told the website that the group’s primary objective is to caution users about the vulnerability of their online security.

“We don’t need money, but we are selling security services because there is a lot [of] people [who] want to check their security,” the OurMine member said.

“We are not black hat hackers, we are just a security group…we are just trying to tell people that nobody is safe.”

Where black hat hackers seek to compromise your online security for either personal gain or malicious intent, OurMine’s objectives align more with that of gray hat hackers. Gray hat hackers hack into various accounts as a way of demonstrating that the user or victim’s system is vulnerable, often as a way of advertising their commercial services.

“We have no bad intentions and only care about the security and privacy of your accounts and network,” the group’s official website states.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Studio71 represents over 1,200 channels, including those belonging famous creators Roman Atwood, Lilly Singh, and Logan Paul. Affected channels only suffered from title and description changes, all of which were corrected within hours of the compromise.

Lilly Singh Ice Age Premier
Lilly Singh seen at Twentieth Century Fox "Ice Age: Collision Course" Friends and Family Screening [Image by Eric Charbonneau/AP Images]

Studio71 had been known as Collective Digital Studio from their inception in 2011 until a merger with ProSiebenSat.1 in January of 2016. Since that time, Studio71 has gone on to become a top five multi-channel network.

OurMine is calling their April 13 hack the “biggest YouTube hack in history” and follows an earlier hack the group conducted on April 1 which affected notable channels Kwebbelkop, Miniminter, and LeafyIsHere. The primary objective for both hacks, to demonstrate YouTube’s vulnerable security.

Even though this specific attack was limited to primarily Studio71 channels, it further exemplifies why users of all social media accounts should take the necessary steps to ensure their accounts are secure. Users should change passwords on a routine basis, in addition to using a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

In addition to updating their password on a regular basis, users are encouraged to always ensure their media and content is backed up. Having their content backed up will ensure they can always reupload and republish if a more severe compromise was to occur.

Wojcicki YouTube TV
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks during the introduction of YouTube TV at YouTube Space LA in Los Angeles [Image by Reed Saxon/AP Images]

Clickbait Titles Causing Controversy

In addition to the channel compromise, many YouTubers came under fire in recent weeks for allegedly generating video and channel views through the use of clickbait titles.

Clickbait, a pejorative term used amongst many online content sites, is the act of enticing viewers to click on your article or video through titles that may or may not relate to the content posted.

In an article written for Complex, Matt Welty noted how many creators in the niche sneaker community generate their views through clickbait titles and often piggy back on other creators for video ideas.

“[Clickbait] is a way for us get people to watch our videos,” popular sneaker YouTuber, Qias Omar, told Complex.

“It’s not a way to trick people. It’s a way to get people to watch our videos who aren’t subscribers.”

While many fans might not like the false advertising, they must realize that for many creators, YouTube is their full-time job. They rely on the advertising revenue and the affiliate marketing income to support themselves and their family while continuing to offer you, the viewer, the content you desire.

[Featured Image by Ivan Sekretarev/AP Images]