Google Removes 3,000 YouTube Channels Of China-Linked Spam Network Running Influence Campaigns

New Delhi: Google has revealed that it has terminated over 3,000 fake YouTube channels in the period of July to September. These channels were a part of a large spam network linked to China which focuses on creating an influence operation on YouTube. ALSO READ | Flipkart, Amazon Festive Sale: iPhone XR To Be Sold Under 40k, Here’s How You Can Get Your Hands On One

Because of the measures undertaken, this large China-operated network has not been able to build a real audience base.

“Most of the videos we identify have fewer than 10 views, and most of these views appear to come from related spam accounts rather than actual users,” Google said in a statement late on Friday.

“While this network posted frequently, the majority of this content was spam. We haven’t seen it effectively reach an actual audience on YouTube,” said Shane Huntley, Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG).

This YouTube network has tried to penetrate across multiple platforms by primarily acquiring or hijacking existing accounts and posting spammy posts in Mandarin such as videos of animals, music, food, plants, sports, and games.

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“A small fraction of these spam channels will then post videos about current events. Such videos frequently feature clumsy translations and computer-generated voices,” Huntley informed.

Researchers at Graphika and FireEye have revealed how this network operates. They begin with posts in Mandarin about issues related to Hong Kong and China’s response to Covid-19, then move on to some posts in English and Mandarin about current events in the US (such as protests around racial justice, the wildfires on the West Coast, and the US response to Covid-19).

Currently, a lot of it seems to be linked to the upcoming US election 2020.

“Overall, we’ve seen increased attention on the threats posed by APTs in the context of the US election,” the tech giant added.

In a separate campaign, attackers posed as recruiting professionals to lure targets into downloading malware, Google reported.

(With agency inputs)

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