It’s late at night and after a long day, you just want to unwind and check what’s happening on YouTube. You visit the website only to find out that you’ve been signed out. Ok, that could happen but once you try to login back – YouTube won’t let you in. Chances are, your YouTube account has been hacked. Now what?
Why would anyone hack your YouTube account?
At first, you may be thinking why would anyone want to hack into your YouTube account. It’s not like you buy anything there. In fact, you can’t even access your payment details from YouTube and even if they would access your Google Payments – your credit card information is hidden even from you. Only a few numbers of the credit card are visible and there is nothing anyone could do with it.
Sure, they can see what you like watching, channels you’re subscribed to and so on — but is that really valuable information? In a word – NO.
What is valuable are subscribers to your YouTube channel. If you’re a popular “YouTube personality,” your channel is potentially worth thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most accounts are not that valuable, though. But the hacker doesn’t know that – he/she is trying to hack as many accounts as possible, and it could be that your account was just a collateral damage in that “process.”
On the other hand, if hackers manage to get into an account with several thousand subscribers (or much more), they could subject those subscribers to scams. Unaware fans could be redirected to a malware-ridden website and their real data — and even money — could be stolen. Or they could be tricked into buying some product/service. That’s the real point of YouTube account hacks.
How do you know if your YouTube account has been hacked?
The first red light is the inability to login to your YouTube account. If that’s the case — chances are someone has managed to get into it. This could be especially troublesome if your YouTube is linked to your Google account. This way, a hacker could get a ton of information about you and potentially cause some serious damage. Plus, if your email is exclusively coming through Gmail, you may be unable to do your work.
But let’s get back to YouTube… You may also notice some videos in your library that you know you haven’t uploaded. And the same goes for your activity history – you may notice some new subscriptions, likes and so on.
In order to be sure, visit the Security section of your Google account to check where you last logged in from. Go to Review security events to see if someone else has logged in to your account from a previously unknown location.
Another useful tip is to go to Manage devices under the same Security tab where you can see which devices have been linked to your account. If you see one that you don’t recognize, that is a major alert.
What to do if your YouTube account has been hacked?
If you still have access to your account, you can change the password. As we are always saying, your password should be impossible to remember, combining letters, numbers and special characters. And since you can’t remember it, you should use a password manager — which you could also rely on to generate unbreakable passwords in the first place.
On the other hand, if you can’t access your YouTube account, you will have to go through the YouTube account recovery process. Here, you will be presented with your previously asked security questions. It is advisable to go through this “process” from the device you most use YouTube on and from the location you’re typically based.
We’re sad to say that it can sometimes take upwards of weeks or months to successfully recover a stolen account.
How do you prevent your YouTube account from being hacked?
The first and foremost is to use
strong impossible-to-guess passwords as mentioned above.
The second advice is to opt for two factor authentication (2FA) that uses a password and an authenticator app (like Google Authenticator) for logging in. This way, it will be practically impossible for anyone to log into your account.
There are also security extensions you could use in order to browse the Internet in a safer manner — so that no one can intercept your traffic. And finally, you should use a VPN; it will encrypt all data traveling between your device(s) and the rest of the Internet, making it impossible for anyone to decipher your (web) requests and just about anything else you do online.
A VPN is our tool of choice and we suggest you get one for yourself, as well. Here’s the list of what we consider to be the Best of the Best VPNs from where you should find a good service for all your needs — no matter what those needs happen to be.