ouTube has become the second most visited website in the whole web, with more than 500 hours of video uploaded every minute and 1.5B visitors each month.
It is only natural that such a websites attracts malicious actors that to spread malware and videos to spread stealer malware, trojans and other dangerous software through malicious links or malicious files.
The latest of these are AI-generated videos. If you are how AI can help malicious actors spread Malware through YouTube, don’t miss this article.
Malicious content on YouTube
There’s been quite a spike in malicious content published on YouTube over the past few years. As the platform gains popularity, it becomes more appetible for cybercriminals not only for the larger audience they can access but also because, as more content is published hourly, it becomes harder and harder to filter out malicious content.
The surge in AI capability will only make this trend spike in the future, as generating bulk videos through AI is now easier than ever. The more content is published, the higher the chance to elude YouTube’s tight controls.
How is Malware Spread Through YouTube Videos
The official YouTube page is safe to navigate. There is almost no chance you will get your machine infected simply by browsing and watching videos on the official YouTube webpage and/or YouTube app.
So how do hackers spread malware through this platform?
Videos spread Stealer Malware, like Raccoon, RedLine, and Vidar, by advertising links and actions that lead users to self-infect their machines.
These videos look like legitimate tutorials explaining how to install free commercial Software, such as Adobe or Autocad.
The cracking instructions lead to links where an unofficial version of this software containing the malware code waiting to be downloaded.
The instructions to install the software also mislead users into applying unsafe configurations on their OS, allowing the Malware to operate its hack.
How to Protect from YouTube Videos Spreading Stealer Malware
Never trust by default the legitimacy of a video; YouTube tutorials are a great source of knowledge and can be used for training, but they are not a single source of truth like most content on the web.
You can always check on youtube videos whether the account publishing the content is a legitimate organization or a private user.
Generally, accepting cracked versions of costly Software for free is unsafe behavior for several reasons besides being unethical and illegal.
Most YouTube videos also include various links in their description sections. Always check the link destination before clicking on them, even when you are visiting a trusted channel, as never trusting a link destination unless you verified it is a good practice in general when being onlin
How to Recognize AI-Generated Videos on Youtube
AI-Generated youtube videos to spread malicious links can be harder to spot in time as the AI-generated content increases in quality. Verifying the source channel is the first step. Channels with few users subscribed despite publishing high volumes of content are most likely publishing low-quality content, such as AI-generated videos.
Fake comments published to trick users into believing the channel is legitimate are also easy to spot as a red flag. If you notice that in the comment section, several comments look like they are AI-generated or highly repetitive, probably the content creator is trying to make its content look more legitimate than it is.
If you are wondering how to assess whether the content you are viewing is AI-Generated, you can spot some common factors:
- Environment errors: AI-Generated videos tend to have imperfections such as unnatural lightning in the environment they try to represent or unnatural movement of the bodies.
- Voice and Speech: AI-Generated youtube videos will most likely feature voice content that is AI-Generated as well. The combination of automated imagery creation and automated voice-over is an easy-to-spot combination.
- Lack of errors and expressivity: Content creators tend to give distinguishing traits to their videos, odd behavior, loud talk, errors and abrupt reactions are not uncommon in videos as they make creative content look more original and entertaining. Flat videos with still human figure talking, even for professional uses, are quite unusual.
There are licensed product that have a learning curve out there and that people like to test before committing to subscription, also everyone wants to get a better deal than most, but these shouldn’t be driving factors when following link or instructions on software installation from unknown sources on the web.
YouTube is a trustworthy platform but its content trustworthiness can vary significantly depending on the source.
AI-Generated youtube videos to spread stealer malware have become a problem in the community as AI-Generated content is more compelling and easier to create than ever.