YouTube bans ‘instructional hacking and phishing’ videos

Yesterday, YouTube updated its list of what it considers asharmful or dangerous content.” YouTube has now added instructional hacking and phishing videos to its list of “harmful or dangerous content” that is prohibited on the platform. This represents a huge blow to people making videos in the cybersecurity and infosec (information security) community who often use these videos to develop their skills.

Some creators have reportedly received a strike for hosting such content. One YouTube creator noticed a strike on his channel that creates “videos for aspiring ethical hackers, computer scientists, and the infosec community.”

Kody Kinzie, a security researcher and educator who posts hacking tutorial videos on YouTube’s Null Byte channel, on Tuesday said, “A video created for the US July 4th holiday to demonstrate launching fireworks over Wi-Fi couldn’t be uploaded because of the rule.”

“I’m worried for everyone that teaches about infosec and tries to fill in the gaps for people who are learning,” he said via Twitter. “It is hard, often boring, and expensive to learn cybersecurity.”

In a subsequent comment, a YouTube spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that Cyber Weapons Lab’s channel was flagged by mistake and the videos have since been restored. “With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” the spokesperson said. “We have an appeals process in place for users, and when it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.”


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