A livestream of an old interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook made its way to the YouTube front page by impersonating an official cryptocurrency event of the company.
As reported by The edge (opens in new tab), cybercriminals used the buzz around Apple’s latest product launches to trick victims into thinking they saw Tim Cook talking about the current state of Web3, with the end goal of spreading a crypto scam.
Reaching thousands of viewers who likely followed the heartfelt coverage of Apple’s Far Out event, which featured new products including the iPhone 14 and the Apple Watch 8 (opens in new tab) were revealed, the stream led viewers to a site that solicited money from cryptocurrency enthusiasts looking to boost their investment.
Live crypto scam on YouTube
The stream’s title, “Apple Event Live. Apple CEO Tim Cook: Apple & Metaverse in 2022 [sic]”, as well as a suspicious URL in the video description, may have raised suspicions among critical viewers, but social media’s role in crypto scams has led them to become a multi-billion dollar market, preying on people without the knowledge to recognize warning signs.
The edge also reported on a separate concurrent stream with the exact same playbook, claiming that Cook and Elon Musk are in talks about the metaverse. In reality, the feed was a republished version of an online discussion (opens in new tab) between Musk and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Like the fake crypto stream, it also reached over 10,000 viewers.
Bad actors hosting YouTube live streams that repurpose interviews with well-known figures in tech are nothing new and go to great lengths to take large amounts of Bitcoin from viewers.
Typically touted as “get rich quick” or giveaways, these scams often attempt to piggyback on an unsuspecting public figure’s reputation to give a touch of authenticity.
They can also be committed across the full range of media platforms and appear in fraudulent ‘sponsored’ advertisements, as well as other visual content. In April, Facebook’s parent company Meta affected by a lawsuit in an Australian court after failing to suppress the rise of these scams at his services.
To avoid falling for scams like this, web users are advised to think critically about the links they click while browsing. Consumers should consider investing in a firewall that goes beyond the basics provided by their operating system, while business owners should invest in strong endpoint protection to protect their entire network of devices.