During VidCon 2016, a malicious online attacker went after popular YouTuber Boogie2988 — and hit him hard. As he explains in the video above, the hacker gained control of most of his online accounts through his Verizon account. Boogie's YouTube, Twitter, even his PayPal were targeted. Unlike the other hacks that targeted YouTubers like IISuperwomanII, the hack against Boogie appeared to be purely malicious, as it didn't promote any brand or cause.
Boogie talked to What's Trending about the hack via email, sharing his experience and his advice for creators.
According to Boogie, he first became aware someone was trying to hack him three months ago, when his phone received texts from Verizon about someone trying to make changes to his account. He asked Verizon to give his account additional security, forbidding changes to the account without additional information and an additional PIN. Somehow, the attacker still gained access.
"Verizon originally had been fairly willing to work with us and fairly apologetic about the mistake," said Boogie. However, after "days of trauma and thousands of dollars in damages," they have been "almost combative over the phone."
"I might… consider using a different provider than Verizon," said Boogie.
Once his Verizon account was compromised, the attacker was able to go after Boogie's other accounts. Most notably, all of his YouTube videos were deleted — over 1,000 videos serving nearly 3.5 million subscribers, with a combined total view count in the hundreds of millions.
Thankfully, with the help of the Google engineering team, Boogie was able to regain everything he'd lost on YouTube. "Apparently this was quite the daunting task for the team," said Boogie. "It took several engineers and lots of man hours to get everything back into place." In other words: if you're a creator and this kind of thing happens to you, don't count on an easy resolution.
"Proactive prevention is the best step you can take," said Boogie. "Take every step possible to make sure your accounts are secure."
What specific steps does Boogie recommend? "Never reuse a password," he said. "Frequently change passwords. Use two-step authentication." For people in the public eye, Boogie also recommends that you "work with your service providers to make sure they know you're a high profile target."
Boogie credits the YouTube community with helping him get through this ordeal. "I just want to remind people that whenever this kind of stuff happens, remember that you are not alone," said Boogie. "The YouTube community is incredible and so are the people on the YouTube/Google team that make all of this possible."
"The experience made me feel closer to the community than I ever have before," said Boogie.
In closing, Boogie offers a word of advice for creators. "Above all please take your account security very seriously. The more successful you are, the higher profile of a target you become. Be sure to take every step you can to be safe!"
What do you think? Are you going to finally change your password, like you've been putting off for two years? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter.