Something unusual has happened on the YouTube channels of dozens of internationally famous artists. According to reports, the channels of singers such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson and reggaeton performers such as Daddy Yankee and J Balvin were compromised by a hacking group.
While the first hypothesis pointed to a security incident related to the official video platform Vevo, this explanation was soon ruled out by the appearance of a group that claimed responsibility for this incident.
Through a Twitter account, the cybercriminal group known simply as Los Pelaos claimed responsibility for the attack on these YouTube accounts, causing confusion among millions of fans around the world. On the compromised accounts, the hackers posted a video just over a minute long titled ‘Music video by Drake performing Justin Bieber – Free Paco Sanz (ft. Will Smith, Chris Rock, Skinny flex & Los Pelaos)’. The video does not seem to have a clear message, although the motivation of the hackers has already been confirmed.
Apparently, the attackers’ goal was to post a message in defense of Paco Sanz, a Spanish citizen accused of fraud. Shortly after the attack was identified on the aforementioned channels, the message reached the platforms of other artists such as Traviss Scott, Eminem, The Weeknd, Drake and Lil Nas X, creating even more confusion on the world’s leading video platform.
Controversy grows among Latin artists
In the case of J Balvin’s channel, hackers posted a link redirecting users to the video of rapper Residente that caused controversy a few weeks ago, calling the Colombian singer an. Dozens of users on social networks reacted to the incident with irony:
The video published by Los Pelaos has already been removed from the compromised channels, although so far it is unknown what was the method used by the attackers to access these platforms.
When the incident had already gone viral, the threat actors reposted a message on their Twitter account, dismissing YouTube’s work and assuring that the attacks would continue: “This has just begun,” Los Pelaos claimed.
Free Paco Sanz?
Spanish media report that this incident could be part of a movement called Free Paco Sanz, in defense of a Spanish citizen who was diagnosed with Cowden Syndrome in 2009. Sanz began to appear in the media claiming that he suffered from a fatal disease, so he began to receive large donations that he ended up using to buy cars, electronic devices and luxury travel.
A few years later, Sanz was sentenced to two years in prison and the payment of a fine of thousands of dollars to those affected. Although it was proven that the defendant acted deceptively intentionally, there are still people who defend him and fight for his freedom, even by questionable means. In previous incidents, hackers managed to take control of the online accounts of Spanish media outlet La Sexta.
To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.
He is a well-known expert in mobile security and malware analysis. He studied Computer Science at NYU and started working as a cyber security analyst in 2003. He is actively working as an anti-malware expert. He also worked for security companies like Kaspersky Lab. His everyday job includes researching about new malware and cyber security incidents. Also he has deep level of knowledge in mobile security and mobile vulnerabilities.