Hacker replaces Sesame Street with pornography
A YOUTUBE channel run by the children’s TV favourite Sesame Street was taken offline after it was hacked and filled with pornographic videos.
The attacker, calling himself "Mredxwx", struck on Sunday night. The obscene material was available for around 20 minute before the channel was shut down by the site’s operator Google..
In a message to YouTube users, "Mredxwx" wrote: “Who doesn’t love porn kids?”
“Right! Everyone loves it!”
The channel, which has now been secured and restored, has 148,000 subscribers and its videos have been viewed more than 440 million times.
Google said it acted as soon as it received complaints.
“YouTube's Community Guidelines prohibit graphic content,” it said in a statement.
“As always, we remove inappropriate material as soon as we are made aware of it."
There was confusion about the identity of the hacker. A YouTube member with the same “Mredxwx” username quickly denied involvement.
“I did not hack Sesame Street. I am an honest youtuber,” he said in a video posted to the site.
“I work hard to make quality gameplay videos and most important I respect the community guidelines.”
Graham Cluley of the British security firm Sophos said security should be tight for content aimed at children.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Separately, Google today launched an online safety campaign in collaboration with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. It aims to help parents make the internet safer for their children.