Despacito, other videos on YouTube deleted via Vevo hack

A number of popular videos disappeared or were defaced temporarily on Tuesday due to a security breach.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
2 min read

Despacito by Luis Fonsi was among the affected videos

Screenshot by Katie Collins/CNET

The record-breaking music video for Despacito disappeared temporarily from YouTube on Tuesday due a security breach affecting video platform Vevo.

Five days ago, Luis Fonsi's video racked up the most views in YouTube history, topping 5 billion. Its disappearance was not unique. More than a dozen other singers, including Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Drake and Shakira, were also affected by Tuesday's disruption.

"Vevo can confirm that a number of videos in its catalogue were subject to a security breach today, which has now been contained," a Vevo spokeswoman said in a statement. "We are working to reinstate all videos affected and our catalogue to be restored to full working order. We are continuing to investigate the source of the breach."

The cover image for Despacito was temporarily replaced with an image of masked figures wielding guns.

Some of the affected videos also had their titles replaced with "hacked by Kuroi'sh and Prosox," according to screenshots. Others had the words "free Palestine" written underneath them. The content of some of the videos that remained online reportedly was unaltered.

Tuesday's security breach solely affected a handful of video that originate on Vevo. It did not affect YouTube more widely, although the hosting platform did pitch in to help while Vevo was dealing with the problem. "After seeing unusual upload activity on a handful of Vevo channels, we worked quickly with our partner to disable access while they investigate the issue," a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement.

Vevo was previously a victim of hacking in September, although it wasn't videos that were affected then. Instead, internal company documents were leaked online.

First published, April 10 at 6:46 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:03 a.m. PT: Adds comments from Vevo and YouTube.

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