“We just hacked Travis Scott,” a Twitter account under the name of Los Pelaos announced in Spanish on Tuesday at 3:37 a.m.
This week, some of the biggest names in the music industry had their YouTube accounts hacked by an “unauthorised source” who uploaded a number of odd clips of a convicted swindler. The list of those hit include Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Drake, Lil Nas X, Harry Styles, Michael Jackson, The Weekend and Eminem. These artists have hundreds of millions of subscribers combined on YouTube, Bieber alone has 68.2 million.
The hacker uploaded a video titled, “Justin bieber – Free Paco Sanz (ft. Will Smith, Chris Rock, Skinny flex & Los Pelaos)” to Bieber’s YouTube channel.
A few months ago, Spanish conman Paco Sanz was sentenced to two years in jail for fraud after lying about having terminal cancer and defrauding large amounts of money between 2010 and 2017.
The video shows Sanz holding a guitar the wrong way while singing along to a Spanish trap song remixed by La Mafia Del Edit, a meme account on Instagram that defended Sanz back in February when he was convicted.
The twitter account under the handle @lospeloaosbro continued to announce the list of artists getting hacked as it was happening, occasionally stopping to ask, “who next?” to their 14,900 followers. They also offered to sell security to celebrities who didn’t want to be hacked. The identity of the account’s user is unknown, but the user’s photo appears to be that of Sanz with a nasal cannula.
The videos were eventually taken down after racking up thousands of views.
Although YouTube has not acknowledged the incident yet, the video hosting service Vevo said that it was reviewing its security systems.
“Some videos were directly uploaded to a small number of Vevo artist channels earlier today by an unauthorised source,” a Vevo representative told The New York Post in a statement. “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.”
Artists, or rather their record labels, upload their music videos to Vevo through a separate verified channel, and YouTube merges that content with the artist’s YouTube Channel.
YouTube has been fending off hackers after a recent wave of attacks targeting high-profile content creators on the website, publishing cryptocurrency scams or auctioning off access to the YouTube accounts. Since then, YouTube has required popular pages on its website to enable two-step verification.
Although the most recent hijacking frenzy is over for now, the hackers may be launching future attacks. The day after the hacking, the Los Pelaos account tweeted, “Give us ideas of possible platforms to hack. We do not attack governments, only private companies.”