Government YouTube channels cyberattacked

By Kim Hae-yeon
Published : Sept. 4, 2022 - 15:02

Culture Ministry officials hold an emergency meeting Saturday morning after cyberattacks on government YouTube channels. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)

Three of the country’s official YouTube channels were hacked between Thursday and Saturday, including the South Korean government's YouTube channel with some 260,000 subscribers. The channels have since been restored, according to the relevant agencies.

At 6 a.m. on Saturday, a Culture Ministry staff member read a blog post that said the government channels on the video-sharing platform may have been hacked. The post included a screen-captured shot of SpaceX founder Elon Musk's interview clip being livestreamed, according to a Culture Ministry official on Sunday. The channel's name had been changed to SpaceX Invest.

The screen-captured shot shows that over 50,000 people were watching the channel at the time, the ministry official told The Korea Herald.

The account was successfully restored at 7:20 a.m. the same day, according to the ministry.

While Google Korea confirmed that the channel had been hacked, the case was handed over to both Google and the Seoul cyber police for investigation into the exact cause of the incident.

The Korea Tourism Organization's YouTube channel, Imagine Your Korea, had also been hacked two consecutive days, Thursday and Friday.

"Part of our most popular hit 'Feel the Rhythm of Korea' video series had been temporarily erased from our channel, but we were fortunately able to bring back all content," a KTO official told The Korea Herald on Sunday. The KTO's channel was restored Saturday evening.

On Aug. 29, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea’s YouTube channel was found to have been hacked and was restored the same day.

Both the KTO and the Culture Ministry confirmed that their channels were operated by their own staff.

"We held an emergency meeting on Saturday, and are currently waiting for results of the investigation to see what measures can be taken to avoid future incidents," a Culture Ministry official said.

Meanwhile, the KTO is currently considering operating a subchannel as backup source.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)


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