Official Valorant YouTube channel hacked by crypto scam

Nicholas James • November 7, 2022 5:22 pm

The official Valorant Esports YouTube channel was briefly hacked on November 6, resulting in all of its videos going unpublished in favor of a scam stream promoting cryptocurrency.

The pattern of malicious actors hijacking popular YouTube channels to promote cryptocurrency scams to their audiences isn’t new, but it’s the first time Riot Games has fallen victim to the scheme. The interruption was only brief, but it certainly kept things interesting for a Sunday.

Riot Games’ official Valorant YouTube channel hacked

The official Valorant esports YouTube channel was hacked sometime at around approximately 4 PST on November 6, 2022. The hack removed all of Riot Games’ previous videos and changed the channel’s name to “ARK Invest CEO [LIVE]”. The channel began running a fake stream titled “Elon Musk – Bitcoin And Ethereum Merge INCOMING!! ETH/BTC Predictions & Analysis”. The stream was a low-production cryptocurrency scam faking an impending Etherium and Bitcoin merge, a practical impossibility. Fans were immediately shocked that such a high-profile official Riot Games channel was susceptible to this kind of attempt.

The channel appeared to be either promoting, or more likely masquerading as, ARK Invest, a venture capital company focused on cryptocurrency. ARK Invest is a real company, with CEO Catherine Wood appearing all over the internet talking about cryptocurrency-adjacent topics, with the company publishing videos from its YouTube channel “ARK Invest” to some 541,000 subscribers. The attempted scam seems to have been trying to pretend to be an official ARK Invest outlet, attract the Valorant Esports channel’s viewer base, and forward viewers to fake cryptocurrency investment websites.

Esports and cryptocurrency have a complicated relationship at the best of times, with this involuntary hijacking painting the cryptocurrency space negatively. Luckily, the channel reverted to its previous state within the hour without any other occurrences. Valorant Esports has remained under Riot Games’ control since then.

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