YouTube Viewers Flocked to Crypto Scam After Apple Event

Yesterday, just hours after the event

Apple unveiled a suite of new products yesterday, from the iPhone 14 to the updated AirPods, in a livestreamed and recorded event. You could have listened to the Company Website Where Youtube to learn all about ‘Dynamic Island’ and the bigger/better cameras coming soon to the latest generation iPsharpen.

And a few hours later, you may have been interested in watching Tim Cook’s interview at the ongoing Vox Media Code conference.

Or, for searches related to either of the Apple-adjacent events, you might have erroneously ended up at one of at least two crypto scam videos, reported for the first time by The Verge. Apple did NOT host and does NOT host crypto-related discussions, but nevertheless, tens of thousands of viewers ended up watching a live stream from a channel claiming to be “Apple LIVE” which contained multiple links to a suspicious crypto website, according to The Verge.

The banner ads on the video read things like “Apple buys 100,000 Bitcoins” and direct viewers to a website promoting fake crypto giveaways, according BTCC. Over 160,000 users may have watched the stream, flagged the site, and for a time it appeared to appear on the first page of results in response to searches such as “Apple Event”.

Thousands of additional viewers found themselves on another separate live stream from a channel billing itself as “Apple Inc.” (Note: Apple’s real YouTube channel is just called “Apple” and it’s verified.)

Both streams have since been removed by YouTube. But, while they were live, the videos displayed content from older, publicly available technology footage. The first video seemed to show a CNN Interview 2018 with Tim Cook. The second broadcast excerpts from a meeting about Bitcoin with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, The Verge reported.

If you know all the signs of crypto scam, avoiding the bait in this case would not have been difficult. However, it is a good reminder to beware of what appears in search results. Search Engine Optimization can be easily hacked to promote harmful end goals.

In this case, the scammers were apparently able to capitalize on the popularity of Tim Cook and Apple, boosted by a double dose of attention from the spotlight yesterday. So if you’re buying your mom that iPhone, maybe also offer an introduction on how to avoid the worst parts of the internet.

Shirley K. Rosa