This is not good. Not good at all.
I was at the dentist's when my phone started blowing up with messages from my team and audience that Deep Pocket Monster had been hacked. You never think it will happen to you until it does.
If you're following my updates, you know that my Pokémon YouTube channel has grown to over 500k subscribers. Just last week, in episode 656, I shared how I leveraged the lessons in my book Superfans to make that happen.
But building a large audience online doesn't just attract sponsors and new opportunities. You also become a target for bad actors looking to make a buck. That's why protecting yourself, your team, and your followers is vital!
There's been a spike in attacks of late, so listen in on this episode to learn about how this happened and the tools I used to stop the hackers.
I was actually able to get my channel back in about two hours, so I'll also cover how to take action if this ever happens to you! (I hope it never does.)
SPI 658: I Got Hacked.
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he whistles the melody to almost every single song that plays in the car while driving. Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: I was hacked. That's right folks. I was hacked. This is the second time, it's happened in a pretty major form. The first time was in 2013 and my entire website suffered from a DDoS attack. And I was unable to get through to it and have control for two weeks. Thankfully, podcasts were still scheduled to go out, and I had an email list, which was really the first time I realized how important an email list was.
I mean, not just for communication and broadcasting, but as a backup in case I wasn't able to get SmartPassiveIncome.com back and it was Smart Passive Income and a number of other websites that were just down. And thankfully I was able to get it back up and running and put the right security protocols into place so that that would never happen again.
At least in that way. But just the other day, this is early January, 2023, I get a message from my producer over at Deep Pocket Monster, my YouTube channel, saying that we've been hacked. And I didn't wanna believe it at first until he messaged four or five times in a row saying this was real. And what was interesting was the night before we had just talked about it because we saw a friend of ours, his YouTube channel, had gotten hacked.
And hopefully this gets taken care of just worldwide. But right now we're suffering on YouTube from a large amount of these types of hackers infiltrating certain accounts and, and doing something. So let me tell you exactly what had happened. And the reason I'm sharing this is just so you can, I, I'm not here to scare you, but if you have a YouTube channel, especially you'll, you, you can kind of know what's happening in the space and, and look out for it.
And when I tell you this story, you might have recognized some of these channels having been hacked before based on the sort of common patterns that are, that are seen. It'll be very obvious if you've seen them before. And I'm pretty sure that if you have been on YouTube for a while, you've probably, but also just as a warning and a, just a, hey, like, you know, get those two-step authentications in place, the two-factor authentications and change passwords and, and all that kind of stuff.
Now here's what happened. Somebody who had access to my account, rightfully so, and I gave him access a while back because he edits videos and posts things and checks things like, this is okay. I trusted this person, and again, this person, his email account was hacked. And if you are associated with, a YouTube channel and your email gets hacked, those people now have the ability to go into that YouTube channel as well.
So I'm grateful that it wasn't my account that was hacked, because if it was, then I wouldn't have been able to get back in. So I was still able to have access to the account, but just somebody else also had access to the account and after this whole thing was over. We were able to trace who logged in or where they logged in from at least.
And my buddy's account had gotten logged in from Russia. So some Russians had hacked my YouTube channel. They got access to it through this email that was associated with my channel. And they go in and they changed the channel name to Tesla Live. They changed the username to at Tesla four 18 or four 19 or something like that.
They private almost all of my videos, and then they start a live stream, which of course notifies all my subscribers. And the live stream is a replay, although it's live, it's just a replay of Elon Musk in an interview of some kind. And essentially what this does is it's a cryptocurrency scam. It is meant to convince people that Elon Musk is sharing some stuff, and to go and click on certain links on websites to go and get cryptocurrency of some kind, which is, you know, just a complete scam.
And this Tesla Live cryptocurrency scam is happening all over the place right now. Again, like I said earlier, a buddy of mine, his YouTube channel had gotten hacked. And unfortunately for him at this point, now, two and a half days later, he's been unable to gain access to it. He's done all the right things and will tell you what we did, but because it was the main account that got hacked, he's locked out of it.
And so there are forms that you can submit to Google for a hijacked account, and from my understanding, it can take two or three days for them to get back, which is really unfortunate. So again, protect your YouTube channel and make sure everybody who has access to your YouTube channel, editors, producers, publishers, whoever, that they have their own security calls in place.
And of course, you as well. So thankfully, all we had to do was remove the hacked account from the list of permissions, so then that person who was hacked was no longer able to gain access to our account. And so what we had to do was then change back our name, change back our username, put our logo back cuz they had put a Tesla logo.
Something recognizable for people to, again, make sure it was a scam. But it was terrible because I was getting thousands of messages from people. I was seeing comments coming in saying, why is Pat promoting Tesla? What did Pat change his channel name to Tesla? And you know, of course a lot of the younger folk in the audience might not know exactly what's going on, but a lot of people were privy to the fact that, yes, the account was hacked.
So I got dms on Instagram, dms on Twitter. Public things on Twitter, Instagram, and even on YouTube, and people adding me and text messages from friends, and I'm very grateful for that. But of course, all that coming at once because all those people want to help. Discord messages, it's just quite overwhelming.
So we un privatized those videos that were gone. Thankfully they weren't deleted because they had millions of views on them. But apparently there is a scenario like a, if there is a worst case scenario, your account gets hijacked, everything gets deleted, bad stuff, of course, through Google support and YouTube support, you are able to reset, kind of like a restore system on your computer.
You are able to get the account reset to a certain point in time so that you can get everything back. All the videos and settings are the way they were supposed to be, and you'll have only missed out on those hours and or days of potential views because those videos were not available on search or through findability anymore. It was terrible. It was terrible, but thankfully because it wasn't the main account that was hacked, we were able to get pretty much everything back up and running in about two hours, which was really good. We were able to get things back to the way they were and, and we saw a drop in subscriber account.
Not too much, thankfully, but it was gonna continue to go down unless we did something. So if you ever get hacked, if it's your main account, there's a form that you could search for in Google about hijacked accounts. You submit to the form you need to prove your identity, of course, and all that kind of stuff.
To ensure that you're not just a person who's trying to gain access to somebody else's accounts, that that's typically what takes the longest of time. But because again, it wasn't our main account, we were able to kind of fix things once we removed the hacked account, and now we're making sure that person gets their security protocols in place and we can kind of go on with our business.
So yeah. You know, you don't think this is gonna happen to you until it does, and then it's terrible. And of course, when that happened, I was at the dentist with my kids and unable to get things figured out with just a mobile device. And I had to race home and, and get it all fixed and make the public messages on all the channels to let people know that I now know what's going on.
And then I respond later. Nothing formal, not like a video. But more of a, just a, a community post on YouTube. Like, Hey, this happened in case you saw it. No, I'm not converting to a Tesla company supporting YouTube channel or, or anything like that. But we were hacked. Got it all figured out and I just used this opportunity to remind people, and I'm reminding you right now, to make sure you get the passwords good and updated and make sure you got your two-factor authentication all across the board.
All your websites, all your social media channels could have been a lot, lot worse, it could have been a lot worse cuz if they gain access to your main account then email and your private information, all that kind of stuff is accessible. From my understanding. Most of what these people are doing is they're just simply using YouTube channels to set up these crypto scams, and it must be working for them, unfortunately, because they keep doing it and it happens.
So public service announcement, if you will. And I just want to once again remind you to, Keep things up to date, keep things secure, and I don't wish this upon you at all, but thankfully we're back. So deep Pocket Monster, currently at 480,000 subscribers, less than 20,000 away of the big half a million.
We're set on our goal of over a million subscribers this year. And thank you for your support And whew, dodged a bullet there or got skimmed by it at least. But we're here and just spreading the good word for you. So, thank you so much. I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in the next episode of the Smart Passive Income Podcast.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Grigoras, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.