YouTube is getting serious about banning instructional hacking and phishing content, which the company describes as videos that show users “how to bypass secure computer systems or steal user credentials and personal data.” This became apparent to security researcher and educator Kody Kinzie this week when the service prevented him from uploading a July 4th video about launching fireworks over Wi-Fi.
We made a video about launching fireworks over Wi-Fi for the 4th of July only to find out @YouTube gave us a strike because we teach about hacking, so we can't upload it.— Kody (@KodyKinzie) July 2, 2019
YouTube now bans: "Instructional hacking and phishing: Showing users how to bypass secure computer systems"
Cybersecurity professionals think this is a dumb policy because a lot of this content holds educational value. Others point out that hacking isn’t a “derogatory” term, so its place on an exclusion list doesn’t seem quite right. Then there’s the lack of specificity as to what content YouTube would actually flag.
“In cybersecurity, we improve our defenses by understanding how attacks actually work,” said Erlin. “Theoretical explanations are often not the most effective tools, and forcing content creators onto platforms restricted in distribution, like a paid training course, simply creates roadblocks to the industry. Sharing real world examples brings more people to the industry, rather than creating more criminals.”