13 Jan 2014

Man Pleads Guilty to Hijacking YouTube Channels

A 28-year-old man admitted to hijacking YouTube accounts to make profit using the ad service, according to the Washington Post. He also admitted to hacking the email account of AOL’s chief executive officer.

Matthew A. Buchanan is reported to have scanned YouTube using a software designed by his accomplice, John T. Hoang Jr,, to find accounts that were not using Google Ad Sense. They also cracked the passwords or guessed the security answers using specialized software.

"According to the plea, Hoang wrote computer software that identified more than 200,000 Google account names associated with popular YouTube video channels that users had not monetized by setting up ads," the article said. "Buchanan and Hoang took over the accounts, set the channels to allow advertisements and raked in cash every time someone watched a video."

The hacking of the AOL CEO’s email account and of several company employees was the result of exploiting a vulnerability in the email service.

He stated that the email hack was just a hobby. He faces five years in prison.