Hacked YouTube Music Videos Restored

Danny MoloshokAP Images

The recently hacked music videos on YouTube were restored after a cyber attack on the popular video streaming service today. YouTube was the victim of a cyber attack today, and some of the most viewed music videos were defaced or deleted, according to the Verge. Among the videos deleted was the most-viewed YouTube video of all time, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito.” The video disappeared just five days after it had surpassed 5 billion views. The report said the video’s images were first altered and replaced with a masked gang holding guns and the description was changed by hackers named Prosox and Kuroi’sh, who wrote “Free Palestine” underneath the videos. BBC News reports that the targeted video clips were posted by Vevo.

Some of the popular videos defaced included songs from Selena Gomez, Shakira, Drake, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, DJ Snake, and Chris Brown, among others. The Verge reports that some of the videos from the aforementioned singers were available with defaced titles and thumbnail images. The affected music videos were apparently uploaded to the artist’s Vevo YouTube accounts. It’s unclear whether the hackers gained access to individual accounts or if there was a wider exploit with Vevo accounts, according to the Verge.

A Twitter account allegedly belonging to one of the hackers posted “It’s just for fun, I just use [the] script ‘youtube-change-title-video’ and I write ‘hacked'” and “Don’t judge me I love YouTube.”

The Independent reports that the cyber attack began when the names of many of the most popular music videos on YouTube appeared to have their names changed. Instead of the name of the song, the video’s titles had the words “Hacked by Prosox & Kuroi’sh” written on them. The Independent believes the hackers could only change the names and thumbnails of videos, rather than delete them. The report believes the “Despacito” video was deleted or hidden by someone else as a way of limiting the reach of the hackers.

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According to the Independent, a hacker identifying as Kuroi’sh hacked into Twitter accounts run by news organizations last week. Cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward, from Surrey University, said via BBC News that “[t]o upload and alter video content with code you should require an authorisation token.” Woodward thinks the hackers may have found a way around the need for authorization or are refusing to disclose how they did it.

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There has been no response from Google or YouTube, but the music videos have since been restored on YouTube at the time of writing.