Linus Tech Tips Is The Latest YouTube Channel Getting Elon Musk Bombed By Crypto Scammers

Popular YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips has been hacked by cryptocurrency scammers. The scammers have changed the channel's handle to a Tesla-related name, and are promoting their scam with a live video featuring the company's CEO Elon Musk. The channel formerly known as Linus Tech Tips is currently down, but at the time of writing, there are multiple other channels running the same stream over a presumably hacked account while pretending to be Tesla's official channel.

Linus Tech Tips, which focuses on hardware reviews and other tech content, is one of the most popular channels on YouTube. This is likely why it was targeted, as the people behind the hack would then have an audience of millions to promote their video to. 

Two scam videos, which have since been taken down, were posted on the channel: one was titled "OpenAI ChatGPT-4: The Game-Changing AI Technology," and the other had the name "LinusTechTips & Elon Musk Special Crypto Giveaway." Both videos, and the ones currently on YouTube, seem to involve a panel with Elon Musk and Twitter creator Jack Dorsey discussing cryptocurrency.

Linus, the channel's owner, has posted a short video on his own website Floatplane acknowledging the hack and saying he was "on top of it with Google's team now." The popular tech blogger also acknowledged YouTube is looking into hardening their security and preventing this kind of incident from occurring in the future. That's unsurprising, as it's an ongoing problem.

Linus is far from the first victim

Several popular YouTube accounts have been hacked and used to promote cryptocurrency scams, or nudge viewers towards downloading malicious software, in recent weeks. Hackers usually target accounts with over 100,000 subscribers in an attempt to reach a large audience with their content. Usually, the account owner notices or is informed, and the account is locked down within a few hours. However, that isn't always the case.

Sometimes scammers target an account with a large subscriber base that either only posts every few months or is completely inactive. In these cases, the account can be hijacked for a long time before anyone notices that something is wrong. AI is also playing a part in these scams. 

The bad actors responsible have been observed using AI-generated videos of "trustworthy-looking" people to help convince their victims to play along. The videos are often based around "cracking" various kinds of subscription software, like Adobe Creative Suite. However, instead of a "crack" allowing the viewer to access the software for free, the link below the video often contains malware.

YouTube is aware of the issue, and is working to stamp it out, but don't just rely on YouTube. You should keep safe by following basic online safety advice like never click a link you don't trust, don't download anything morally dubious, and make sure you use something like a password manager to keep your accounts safe.