YouTube viewers lost $1.6 million in cryptocurrencies in three days on fake streams

YouTube viewers lost $1.6 million in cryptocurrencies on fake streams in three days

From February 16 to February 18, Group-IB specialists identified 36 fraudulent YouTube broadcasts dedicated to investments in cryptocurrencies. They brought more than $1.6 million to the scammers.

The attackers edited videos from old speeches by famous representatives of the cryptocurrency community and entrepreneurs. Vitalik Buterin, Elon Musk, Brad Garlinghouse, Michael Saylor, Changpeng Zhao and Cathy Wood were used more often than others.

The fake stream with Buterin attracted more than 165,000 viewers. On average, the audience of one such stream is from 3,000 to 18,000 people. During the broadcast, users were offered to transfer cryptocurrencies to the specified wallet and allegedly receive them back in double volume.

In total, deceived viewers made 281 transactions worth more than $1.68 million (at the exchange rate for February). Ethereum turned out to be the most popular among scammers — $933,963.

For an «extra bonus» the attackers offered the investor to provide the seed phrase of their crypto wallet. If the victim agreed, the scammers withdrew all the funds on it.

Group-IB also identified YouTube broadcasts targeted at NFT buyers. The description of the video contained a link to a phishing site, where customers were promised a token in exchange for a password and wallet seed.

In three months, experts recorded the registration of more than 580 domain names associated with fraudulent distributions. This is three times more than in the entire previous year. 

Most of the domains involved in broadcasts appeared, starting from February 13, through the Russian registrar At the same time, several resources are registered for one person. 

Group-IB experts recommend that you always check the information about the investment conditions and under no circumstances disclose the seed phrase of the wallet to third parties. 

Recall that at the end of October 2021, Google prevented a large-scale hacking of YouTube channels for bitcoin fraud.

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