YouTube in spotlight for hosting cyber-attack guides

YouTube under fire for role in sharing cyber-attack tips

YouTube has pulled channels and videos which offered guides on how to create and distribute ransomware, following the global cyber-attack earlier this week.

An investigation by The Sunday Times put a spotlight on the role the Google-owned video platform plays in promoting and selling ransomware.

It highlighted the “step-by-step guides” on how to build ransomware that are readily available on YouTube, as well as content which links to other websites where people can buy it or get help on how to infect people’s computers.

According to The Times, YouTube has since taken action to remove some videos and channels.

A Google spokesperson told The Drum: "We don't allow videos that instruct people how to hack with malicious intent and we act quickly to remove flagged content that's against our policies. We employ thousands of people and invest hundreds of millions of pounds to fight abuse on our platform and no one does more to keep people secure online."

It comes after the global ransomware attack which affected computer systems in hospitals, schools, governments and businesses in almost 100 countries on Friday (12 May).

In the UK, the NHS suffered as over 70,000 devices ranging from computers to MRI scanners were hit, forcing treatments and operations to be cancelled.

However, the NHS England has said that it’s now “running normally” after the attack.

Earlier this year, YouTube was the focus of another Times investigation into the advertisers inadvertently funding extremist content. Brands including Marks & Spencer, Guardian, Argos and more pulled their ad spend from the online giant until they could be assured that their ads were appearing next to 'brand-safe' content.

Jennifer Faull

Jen Faull is Brands Editor at The Drum. Based in London, she has interviewed major business figures including top marketers from Mondelez, Unilever, Tesco, and Lidl.

All by Jennifer