Several of the biggest names in music — including multiple Canadian artists — were targets of a massive hack that saw a bunch of odd videos uploaded to YouTube accounts.
The YouTube accounts hit include Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Drake, Lil Nas X, Harry Styles, Michael Jackson, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, and Eminem. According to Gizmodo, the hacker uploaded a video titled “Justin bieber – Free Paco Sanz (ft. Will Smith, Chris Rock, Skinny flex & Los Pelaos)” to Bieber’s channel.
Paco Sanz is a Spanish conman who was sentenced to two years in jail a few months ago for fraud. Sanz reportedly lied about having terminal cancer and defrauded large sums of money between 2010 and 2017.
A Twitter account under the name of ‘Los Pelaos‘ claimed responsibility for the hack and asked for suggestions on who to target next from followers. The account reportedly offered to sell security to celebrities who didn’t want to be hacked. It’s not clear who controls the account, but the profile picture appears to show Sanz.
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The video uploaded in the hack shows Sanz holding a guitar the wrong way while singing along to a Spanish trap song remixed by ‘La Mafia Del Edit.’ Gizmodo notes that that’s an Instagram meme account that previously defended Sanz when he was convicted.
Although the videos have been taken down now, they racked up thousands of views first. Moreover, YouTube hasn’t acknowledged the incident yet, while a representative for music video network Vevo did address the incident in a statement to the New York Post:
“Some videos were directly uploaded to a small number of Vevo artist channels earlier today by an unauthorized source. All of those improperly uploaded videos have since been deleted by Vevo. No pre-existing content was accessible to the source. While the artist channels have been secured and the incident has been resolved, as a best practice Vevo will be conducting a review of our security systems.”
As Gizmodo explains, artists’ record labels upload music videos to Vevo through a separate, verified channel. Then, YouTube merges that content with the artists’ YouTube channels.
YouTube has been dealing with a wave of attacks recently. Some reportedly targeted high-profile content creators, publishing cryptocurrency scams or auctioning off access to the YouTube accounts. YouTube has since required popular pages to enable two-step verification.