There was a ton very real news and product announcements during Apple’s “Far Out” presentation yesterday, but none of it was about cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, many consumers can be forgiven for thinking otherwise thanks to crypto scammers’ latest manipulation of YouTube’s video algorithms, keywords, relevant SEO, and hashtags.
According to to several outlets and noticed for the first time EdgeAn estimated 165,000 viewers tuned in to at least two fake “live streams” of the Apple event, which instead played pre-recorded CNN Interview 2018 with the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, as well old talk is held between Twitter co-founder/former CEO Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk. Banner ads like “Apple Buys 100,000 Bitcoins” in the video redirected visitors to bogus crypto giveaway sites.
[Related: Apple announces iPhone 14, new Watches, and more.]
This is far from the first time bad actors have used YouTube’s algorithms to steal viewer data and money. It’s been a few months, dozens of streams continue to appear on the high-traffic streaming site, showing clips like Elon Musk discussing Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies while selling links to various scams. Some of these videos come from fake channels set up by digital thieves, while others involve hijacking existing channels, such as terrible capture of a deceased YouTube video game user earlier this year.
The cons of crypto aren’t limited to sites like YouTube. Almost exactly a year ago, the FBI revealed a special public announcement warning Americans looking for love online to be wary of scammers posing as potential matches on dating apps. And then there’s an oldie but still a goodie – the classic Nigerian prince scam that they still somehow deceive peopleapparently
[Related: Scammers are taking money and breaking hearts.]
Regardless of the medium, there are a number of simple steps anyone can take online to minimize the risk of falling for these increasingly clever scams. Antivirus software is a protection tool as well as a general rule of thumb to think before clicking any external advertising links or file attachments. Also, we swear to you, no fired person is looking to get their bitcoins back.