Hacker Hijacked YouTube Accounts and Renamed it to Microsoft Brands to Broadcast a Cryptocurrency Ponzi Scam

bill gates hijack
Credit: Zdnet

TTA hacker has stolen hundreds of YouTube accounts, renamed them to various Microsoft brands, and is currently broadcasting a Ponzi cryptocurrency scam to hundreds of thousands of users, posing as a message from former CEO of the company, Bill Gates.

The hacks are part of a problem on YouTube, where hackers hijack famous accounts to broadcast a classic “crypto giveaway” — where victims are fooled into giving the scammer a small amount of cryptocurrency to double their earnings yet never get any money back.

These scams were once prevalent on Twitter, but in recent months have now migrated to YouTube as Twitter started cracking down on users posing as authenticated accounts.

At the time of writing, a hacker appears to have taken over 30 + YouTube profiles from where they live streaming an old Bill Gates talk on startups given to an audience at Village Global in June 2019 by the former Microsoft CEO, but also asking users to take part in a scammy giveaway.

Actually, the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme is broadcasting live on YouTube pages using names like Microsoft US, Microsoft Europe, Microsoft News, and others. Microsoft and YouTube spokespersons denied hackers breaching any of Microsoft’s authenticated official accounts, though some users reported scam streams appearing on unverified Microsoft accounts.


The overwhelming majority of live streams were broadcasting on YouTube channels with high viewer numbers, stolen from YouTube users, and later renamed to pose as legitimate Microsoft accounts.

Any of the Bitcoin addresses listed in the scams at the time of writing had earned thousands of US dollars, indicating that the fraud had fooled at least a few users.

Tens of thousands of viewers have seen the video feeds based on YouTube stream stats.

Microsoft was not the only company that had been impacted by the event of mass hijack and defacement. The Chaos Computer Club, a popular hacking group, based in Germany, has also been hacked from its account to broadcast a similar post. In January, youTube’s founder’s YouTube account is also compromised in the same way. Also, the CEO of Microsoft isn’t the only famous person to misuse his reputation in this way. Many of the cryptocurrency community’s past crypto-scams have impersonated individuals.

Article updated at 10:00 pm ET with statements from Microsoft vehemently denying any hack of its account, and YouTube is confirming that the hijack didn’t impact verified Microsoft accounts.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.