Maintaining a secure YouTube channel should be a concern for anyone. After hacking your account, a hacker may gain access to personal information, including your email address and credit card details.
Here are the signs that your YouTube account was hacked:
- You cannot sign in to your account
- You see changes to your account settings
- Your profile picture changed
- Your channel has videos that you did not upload
- Any other changes to your channel
Not being able to sign in to your account is the most obvious sign of a hacked account. Hackers may change your password after hacking into your account to block you from accessing it.
You may also notice changes to your account settings, such as the associated email address. After accessing your account, hackers can easily change the description of your channel, your profile picture, and other details.
Seeing YouTube videos that you did not upload also indicates that your account was likely hacked. Hackers occasionally upload videos to hacked channels.
The bottom line is that any changes to your account that you did not perform may point to a security breach. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.
Use the following steps to protect your YouTube channel.
Create a Complex Password and Keep it Safe
The first step for protecting your YouTube channel is to create a unique password. As YouTube is a Google service, a breach of your YouTube account may expose information from the rest of the Google services that you use, including Gmail.
Google recommends using eight characters or more for your password. The password should also be unique, which means it should be separate from any passwords used for other sites.
Avoid using personal information in your passwords, such as your name or the street that you live on. These details can make your password easier to crack.
The most secure passwords are automatically generated using a password manager, such as the Google password manager built into Google Chrome. Automatically generated passwords are comprised of random characters, making them harder to hack.
Keep your password safe and never share it with anyone. Google and YouTube never ask for your password in an email, phone call, or text message.
Pay Attention to Suspicious Messages and Content
Do not respond to suspicious text messages, especially messages containing shortened URLs. While most links are safe, some may direct you to malware.
If you do not know the sender of an email or text, do not respond. Never click on links or send information to untrustworthy or unknown senders or websites.
Official YouTube emails only come from email addresses with @youtube.com or @google.com domains.
Set and Check Permissions on Your Channel
Under your account settings, you can set permissions to grant access to your channel. For example, if you own a brand account, you may allow others to manage the channel and upload content.
As an owner, you can assign the following roles:
- Managers – can edit channel details, upload videos, and assign or remove users
- Editors – can edit channel details and upload videos
- Viewers – can view but not edit channel details
A compromised account may include managers or editors that you did not add. If you do not recognize a name in the list of managers or owners, remove access to your account and immediately change your password.
Complete a Regular Security Checkup
Frequently check the security of your YouTube channel by reviewing all the security features and permissions. Look for any changes that you did not complete, such as updates to your settings or the addition of managers.
You should also check your Google account recovery options to ensure that your phone number and email address are still correct.
If you have not already done so, enable 2-step verification on your Google account. Two-step verification requires you to supply a second verification after submitting your password. Available verification methods include:
- Security keys
- Text message
- Voice call
- Phone prompts
Security keys are physical devices that you use for signing in, such as biometric fingerprint scanners or USB devices. You can also choose to receive a text message or voice call to your default phone number. However, a faster method involves a phone prompt. Google will send a notification to a connected device. You simply need to accept the notification to complete the verification process.
Google also recommends removing access to any apps or websites that you do not trust. Giving access to a third-party app or website allows others to view your channel details and increases the risk of a hack.
Additional Tips for Preventing a YouTube Account Hack
Along with the steps listed, you should take additional precautions to protect your account:
- Change your password frequently
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links in the comments
- Keep your antivirus software updated
- Pay attention to reported security breaches
Change your password frequently to decrease the risk of getting hacked. Continue to use a password manager to automatically generate and save complex passwords.
You may occasionally notice odd links in the comments sections of your videos. Do not click on any links that you find suspicious because the link may direct your browser to malware that exposes your login credentials.
Malware on your computer or mobile device may also compromise your YouTube sign-in information. Keep your antivirus software updated and frequently scan for viruses to protect all your accounts.
Pay attention to the news for any reported security breaches. For example, in 2019 over 23 million YouTube logins were potentially compromised during a massive hack. If a similar incident occurs, you should change your password immediately.
You may also consider using a personalized security service that checks your accounts for suspicious behavior and instantly alerts you to potential security breaches.
The steps discussed can keep YouTube secure. Remember to use a strong password and set up 2-step verification. You should also continue to look for any signs of suspicious activity and change your password frequently.