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Mysterious Elon Musk-themed Crypto Hackers Take Over S Korean Gov’t YouTube Channels

Source: A screenshot of a tweet by Elon Musk on April 1, 2018.


Multiple South Korean government-run YouTube channels have been hacked by what, at first glance, appear to be crypto scam operators.

One of the hacks took place nation’s on a government channel operated by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism – with another taking over a site used to promote South Korea to overseas tourists called Imagine Your Korea. Another attack hit a channel operated by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Imagine Your Korea has some 509,000 subscribers, and its videos have over 500m views.

The ministry explained, per Chosun Ilbo and the Electronic Times, that certain channel names and profiles had been changed, and that hackers began to live-stream crypto-related videos beginning in the early morning of September 1.

The hackers renamed the channels “SpaceX Invest,” and claimed to provide investors with a way to make money from investing in coins related to Elon Musk’s SpaceX project.

Quite what SpaceX Invest is attempting to sell, however, is unclear. The hackers do not appear to have included any links to bogus exchanges or attempted to promote any specific coins with their broadcasts on the channels.

But the attackers appear to have retained the Korean government logo and name during the broadcasts – a factor that appears to have wrought confusion among subscribers.

The hackers also appeared to have broadcast a video featuring an interview with Musk, along with Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood and Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey.

Cryptonews.com was able to identify this video as having been lifted from a three-way discussion on bitcoin (BTC) named “The B-Word,” which was first aired on various YouTube channels last year.

Hackers appear to have pirated this video and posted it to other channels they have taken over this month. One such channel posted the same video on September 2, and in its description, the hackers wrote that “even though we already have coins named after Elon Musk like Elongate and Dogelon Mars, a coin created by Elon Musk will absolutely dominate the market.”

This same channel also appears to have been pirated by the same hackers – and appears to originally belong to a user named OJTrivino. From OJTrivino’s older videos, it appears that this user originates from or resides in Ecuador.

The South Korean ministry, however, was paralyzed by the attack, and was unable to regain full control of its Imagine Your Korea channel for some 48 hours.

At least one of the channels, the one belonging to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, was “attacked by manipulating links” associated with the channel “rather than changing IDs and passwords,” the media outlets noted.

In the case of the Imagine Your Korea account, however, the ministry claimed that it was likely that the channel’s login details and password had “been stolen.”

Google Korea, which operates YouTube in the nation, was quoted as confirming that the channel had been hacked and said it was investigating the matter.

Some of the channels were temporarily taken offline, but have all been restored to normal.

The ministry claimed that it would respond by bolstering security and said it hoped to establish a “hotline” with Google Korea that would allow it to respond in a more timely manner should a similar event occur in the future.

It also claimed that it had created a series of secondary accounts that could effectively take over from a hacked primary account.
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