Linus Tech Tips is one of YouTube’s most popular content creators for tech hardware, with over 15 million followers on the platform. That changed very quickly after the account was hacked by crypto scammers who used it to run Bitcoin ads. The account has now been “terminated,” according to an error page on individual LTT videos.
According to The Verge, the hacker accessed Linus Sebastian’s account earlier this morning. They made several live broadcasts about Elon Musk and Bitcoin. Some private videos on the channel were made public, though it’s ambiguous whether this was done by YouTube staff or the scammer themselves.
The account was eventually deleted, though it’s not clear whether the action was performed by YouTube staff or the hacker themselves. Other hardware accounts under the Linus media conglomerate were also hit, including Techquicke and TechLinked. Kotaku reached out to YouTube to ask if they had delisted the account and what safety measures they provide creators to safeguard their accounts but did not receive a response as of publication time.
LTT fans have noted that almost a decade’s worth of videos were deleted. I’m assuming that a tech YouTuber would have backups of all his old videos, so you’ll probably be able to view them again eventually even if YouTube can’t undo the damage. Kotaku reached out to Sebastian for a comment but did not receive one by the time of publication.
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YouTube crypto scams are not a new phenomenon. The British Army had its account hacked last year, and it was turned into an advertising platform for cryptocurrency. Some scammers without the savvy to hack high-profile YouTube accounts have resorted to impersonation instead, such as this not-Tesla account. Apparently, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is filled with shills that don’t have the talent or credibility to grow their own audiences and resort to using other people’s visibility and hard work instead.
Sebastian seems to be taking the hacking in good humor, telling his fans that they should watch ShortCircuit, a fellow hardware YouTuber.