Hackers target South Korean Gov’t YouTube channel to spread crypto message

  • Local media outlets reported that the government was able to restore the hacked YouTube account within a couple of hours.
  • This hack means three YouTube channels related to the South Korean government have been hacked in the last fourteen days.

Over the weekend, cyber attackers hacked the official YouTube channel belonging to the South Korean government per multiple local media outlets. Then, they aired a crypto-related video interview with billionaire Elon Musk. The Yonhap News Agency reported that the hackers renamed the channel “SpaceX Invest” by 3.30 am on the same day.

This local media agency posted a screenshot of what appeared to be footage from an interview that Bloomberg’s John Micklethwait had with Elon Musk at the June 2022 Qatar economic forum. Micklethwait is Bloomberg’s news editor-in-chief. During the interview, Musk shared insights on why his electric car company (Tesla) and spaceflight firm (SpaceX) invested a small percentage of their cash assets into Bitcoin.

Musk also confirmed that tesla accepts Dogecoin payments from those willing to pay for their electric cars using the meme coin. It is worth noting that the value of Dogecoin usually rises whenever the electric car billionaire tweets about it. Yonhap further reported that a statement from the nation’s ministry of culture, sports, and tourism stated that the South Korean authorities only discovered the breach three hours after it happened.

However, the authorities were able to recover the account around 7.20 am. The media outlet added that the hackers stole the YouTube channel’s account id and password. The channel, which often posts videos about current events in the country and government policies, has nearly 262,000 subscribers.

Three breached YouTube accounts in two weeks

Lee Jian, a reporter from another local media agency, Joongang Ilbo, said that the latest breach is the third YouTube channel belonging to South Korean authorities to be hacked in the last two weeks. The media outlet quoting a statement from the ministry of culture, sports and tourism, wrote that the reasons for the attacks or the attackers’ identities are unknown.

According to Joongang Ilbo, Cyberattackers hacked the YouTube channel of Korea’s tourism organization twice on Thursday. They also hacked it again on Friday, and the account remains suspended as of Sunday, September 4, 2022. Joongang Ilbo media also wrote that a hack of the YouTube channel belonging to South Korea’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art occurred last Monday (August 29, 2022).

The hackers also used the YouTube channel to air crypto-related videos. No one is sure whether there is a connection between the latest attack and the august 29 hack. YouTube’s parent firm, Google, confirmed the attacks to Joongang Ilbo and Yonhap media outlets. The popular search engine firm also confirmed that an investigation of the matter is ongoing. However, Google hasn’t responded to any media’s request for official comments.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian cyber partisans (an anti-Belarusian government group) recently attempted to sell the passport of the country’s President (Alexander Lukashenko) as an NFT. The group has been seeking crypto funds to promote its activities in opposition to Belarus’ support of Russia in its ongoing war with Ukraine.


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