As the world gets more connected every day, new ways to keep your identity safe are developed. Hacking scammers abound and put great effort into finding ways of getting advantage of people through malicious software and other tactics used to steal information.
The idea of getting hacked is really worrisome. We now store more information than ever on our laptops and cellphones, and nobody wants to have personal pictures and important documents from work traveling all around the internet in the hands of malicious people.
An attack performed through a video is very complicated and usually, the targets are not ordinary YouTube watchers. Until a few years ago YouTube videos were not encrypted, meaning that the information sent over the network was visible to other people. A hacker could be able to know who was watching a certain video or, if you were the target, they were able to know what you were watching.
This is not the case today. YouTube videos are now encrypted so the chances of getting hacked or exposing your identity by just watching a video are close to none. Not even your ISP is able to know what video you’re watching except for the URL.
However, YouTube is not the only place where you can find videos and a video itself is not the only way that can get you hacked. Social engineering is still one of the most common ways that hackers can get access to unprotected devices.
How Can You Get Hacked?
Watching a youtube video is relatively safe but there are still risks within the website and app, and kids are especially vulnerable.
It is much easier to trick people into doing something than actually breaking encryption keys. A really common trick is to get information through the comment section. While not sharing personal information publicly or with strangers, it might seem like common sense, this is still a social platform.
There are communities in which you can find people interested in the same things as you. Joining a community and making friends is not a risk per-se but if you’re not cautious you can end up falling victim to a social engineer.
Social engineering, sometimes called social hacking, can come in various forms. A friendly email, a post in a social platform, direct messaging and unfortunately, it is not always easy to identify.
You might have noticed strange links in the comments section before. Sometimes these links are just pasted there by people that are looking for a way to grow their audience and gain more followers. Other times, these links can lead you to unsafe pages where you can get infected by malicious software.
Many of these malicious links offer users things like free gifts or more content to get people to click on it. Once you click on it you might be prompted to download an “update” for your player but once you do it you get infected.
Inexperienced users and kids are very vulnerable to this kind of attacks because some pages can sometimes look legitimate, and the promise of a free update that will give you a better browsing experience can
Video Description Links
One of the most common scams is the ones that target people looking for specific content. In this case, kids are very vulnerable because they can easily be tricked into clicking an external link.
The easiest way to spot this kind of scam is by noticing that the video is not the actual content you are looking for, usually promising you a Full HD Movie but instead, you get an ad that tells you to click in the link on the description.
For people who are trying to watch a movie, it is not uncommon to feel compelled to click on that link. But just like the links in the comment section you just get redirected to an external page that can put your security at risk.
Some streaming services can put your security at risk without you even noticing it. This is the case with websites that do not comply with security certificates and encryptions.
Just navigating a suspicious website can have a negative impact and puts you at risk. This is even worse when you stream a video because unencrypted videos stream information that can be accessed by anyone.
Many websites, especially the ones that stream free movies have very low-security standards and are full of unethical people. Comment sections might not be moderated and all which makes it unsuitable for curious kids looking to watch a movie.
Besides the very questionable content that you or a family member could be exposed to, links to malicious websites are even more common than more family-friendly websites like youtube. These links serve the same purpose of taking you away to a malicious website and stealing your information.
Thanks to YouTube’s monetization ads can be seen in basically every video on the platform. However, it is not the YouTube ads the ones you should be worrying about so much about. It’s the ads that show on other unregulated and unmoderated video streaming platforms.
Some ads offer you things that are clearly a scam for experienced users. But for the occasional non-tech user these offers can prove to be irresistible. Some ads can simply look like a normal link that takes you to an interesting webpage in which you can consume some more content.
Other ads, however, can go as far as to tell you that a virus was detected on your device and that you must download a program to get rid of it. Again, an experienced user will be aware of the risk of downloading the software, but the idea of being infected with a virus will drive many people to find a “solution” when in reality, the software that they would be downloading is malware.
IS MY COMPUTER SAFE FROM HACKERS?
- Educate family members about malicious links and social hacking.
- In-office environments educate employees about social engineering.
- For kids, download the youtube kids app which will limit the amount of mature content that a kid can be exposed to.
- Avoid visiting suspicious websites and clicking on ads that sound “too good to be true”.
- Install an antivirus program that includes safe browsing features.
Keeping your devices and family secure from attacks means that you should be aware of the different tools that a hacker can use to steal your information. Following some simple steps, you’ll avoid security issues when watching videos on the internet.