Earlier today, ABS-CBN’s YouTube channels were taken offline. This was after their Herculean efforts in reporting the immediate aftermath of Super Typhoon Rolly, which is the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year.
As with any news about the operations of the embattled media network which had its broadcast rights taken away by congress this year, social media were already rife with rumors about the cause of the channel’s termination. Some alleged government mischief, while others floated theories of YouTube killing the channel because of ABS-CBN’s ad injections in their Livestream broadcasts. But as it turns out, the root cause of ABS-CBN’s YouTube woes was the fact that its channel was hacked, and was shut down as a precautionary measure.
While there isn’t a lot of detail available yet, it’s possible that the hacking incident was made possible by someone in the company not turning on two-factor authentication (2FA) as was subtly suggested by the statement sent out by YouTube regarding the incident, at least according to Philstar.com.
I’ve harped on the importance of 2FA for a long, long time now, and if there’s one thing that you can do to make your account resistant to being hacked or taken over, it’s turning on 2FA for all of the accounts you use regularly.
For those who don’t know what 2FA is, it works like a one-time PIN (OTP) that your banks send you when you’re digitally transferring money. It’s Google’s way of checking that it’s really you that’s logging on the account, and not someone else.
Many “hackers” don’t actually employ sophisticated programs to hack accounts, as there are many countermeasures in place to prevent them from doing this automatically. Most of the time, they find usernames and passwords from customer data breaches and try those on sites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc. And since A LOT of people still recycle usernames and passwords (around 72%) there’s a big chance that these compromised accounts are good to go.
2FA helps you know that someone is trying to log into your account but to really keep your accounts secure, you want to use different, strong passwords for everything you use. But trying to remember multiple passwords is a pain in the ass right? That’s why most people recycle passwords anyway, but there is a way to remember all those passwords easily.
Google Chrome has this feature built-in already via Google’s Password Manager that also suggests strong passwords for sites you register for. There are also plenty of other non-Google options available including Keeper, Zoho Vault, Dashlane, and others for you to use. What’s important is to make sure you have a strong password for every single account you own, so that you’re the only one that has access to your account.
But just having 2FA isn’t enough, as many hackers have also found ways to circumvent this. Sophisticated phishing attacks made to look like they come from real providers like Google, Facebook, or your bank of choice has managed to bypass the traditional protection that 2FA gave users. But if you turn on 2FA, use strong usernames and passwords as well as stop recycling your password on every single site you visit, then you’re well on your way to keeping your account secure.