Sesame Street’s YouTube channel, a popular online destination for kids, was hacked in the afternoon of Sunday 16th October, with the entire contents of the video-hosting page replaced with hardcore pornography.
Accessible for around 20 minutes before YouTube pulled the page, hackers had also altered the channel’s appearance so that famous Sesame Street characters had a shocked appearance on their faces, while the tagline “It’s where porn lives” was added underneath the main logo. The channel’s profile description was also changed so that it read:
“WHO DOESN’T LOVE PORN KIDS? RIGHT! EVERYONE LOVES IT! IM MREDXWX AND MY PARTNER MRSUICIDER91 ARE HERE TO BRING YOU MANY NICE CONTENT! PLEASE DON’T LET SESAME STREET TO GET THIS ACCOUNT BACK KIDS 🙁 PLEASE…LET ME AND MRSUICIDER91 HAVE IT AND WE GONNA MAKE ALL THE AMERICA HAPPY!”
The attack was thought to be an anonymous attempt to frame regular YouTube gaming contributor MrEdxwx, who has denied involvement.
“I did not hack Sesame Street. I am an honsest (sic) youtuber. I work hard to make quality gameplay videos. AND MOST IMPORTANT I RESPECT COMMUNITY GUIDELINES,” said MrEdxwx.
“The truth of the matter is that the channel is regularly visited by young children, and parents trust that the page will be safe for them to view,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at web safety specialists Sophos.
“Attacks like this prove that websites with particularly vulnerable audiences need to be monitored regularly, and protected with the highest possible security controls. In addition, parents need to be extra vigilant about keeping an eye on the websites their children are visiting – and remember that even the seemingly most innocent websites can be compromised.”
No-one has yet come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.