Clean up a hacked YouTube channel

When a hacker gains control of your channel, there are several changes that they can make to your channel and its associated Google Account.

While below are the most frequent changes hackers make after taking over a YouTube channel, it's important to conduct a thorough review of your channel and account. This will help you identify any additional unauthorised changes.

Before making any changes to your channel, you'll first need to recover your channel. After you've recovered your channel, you can follow the steps below to restore it to how it was before it was compromised.

Remove any unknown users from your channel or account

Hackers sometimes add unknown users to your channel or account. It's important to only allow access to people that you trust.

If you're using channel permissions, remove access to unknown users from your channel.

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. On the left-hand side, click Settings.
  3. Click Permissions.
  4. Go to the person who you'd like to remove and click the down arrow .
  5. Click Remove access.

If you're using a Brand Account, remove access to unknown users from your account.

  1. Go to the Brand Accounts section of your Google Account.
  2. Under 'Your Brand Accounts', select the account that you want to manage.
  3. Select Manage permissions. You'll find a list of people who can manage the account.
  4. From here you can remove someone:
    • Next to the person's name, select Remove Chrome mobile trash can icon. Confirm your choice if asked.
  5. Click Done.

Restore your channel's basic info and branding

Hackers may attempt to impersonate you by changing your channel's identity. This could include modifications to:

  • Your channel name
  • Your profile picture
  • The banner at the top of your page

If any of these elements have been changed, it's important to restore them to their original state quickly so that your channel doesn't get permanently suspended for trademark infringement.

Update channel name

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left-hand menu, select Customisation and then Basic info.
  3. Enter your new channel name.
  4. Click PUBLISH.
Note: If you are unable to update your channel name, please make sure that any translations are deleted before updating:
  • Under basic info, delete all languages under 'Translation for channel name and description' and click PUBLISH.

Update channel handle

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left-hand menu, select Customisation and then Basic info.
  3. Under Handle, you can view or change your handle.
  4. If you change your handle, click PUBLISH to confirm it.

Update channel profile picture

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left-hand menu, select Customisation and then Branding.
  3. Click CHANGE and select an illustration or an image from your computer. Change the preset colours and crop of the illustration or the size of your uploaded image, then click DONE.
  4. Click PUBLISH. It may take a few minutes for your profile picture to be updated across YouTube.

Update channel banner

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left-hand menu, select Customisation and then Branding.
  3. Click CHANGE and select an image. To make changes, select a preview and change the crop, then click DONE.
  4. Click PUBLISH.

Learn more about managing your YouTube channel's basic info and channel branding.

Delete hacker-uploaded videos without violations

If videos uploaded by a hacker have no associated strikes or claims, remove them:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left-hand menu, select Content.
  3. Point to the video that you'd like to delete and select More  and then Delete forever Chrome mobile trash can icon.
  4. Tick the box to confirm that your video will be permanently deleted.
  5. Select DELETE FOREVER.

When you choose to delete a video from your YouTube channel, we immediately start the removal process. The video will no longer be searchable within YouTube.

Learn more about Community Guidelines strike basics on YouTube.

Update video privacy settings

Hackers may change your privacy settings so that your existing videos are hidden. To change your privacy settings:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left-hand menu, select Content.
  3. Point to the video that you'd like to update. To see your live uploads, select the Live tab.
  4. Click the down arrow under 'Visibility' and choose Public, Private or Unlisted.
  5. Click Save.

Get additional help from YouTube

If your channel is eligible (for example, if you're in the YouTube Partner Programme), once you recover your Google Account, you can get in touch with the YouTube Creator Support team for help.

If you're not eligible for Creator Support, you can get help from @TeamYouTube on Twitter.

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