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Recover a hacked YouTube channel

As a creator, you invest a lot of time into your content and channels. We know it can be a stressful and difficult situation when your channel is hacked. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to recover your channel.

Before taking action, it’s important to double check for signs that your channel may have been hacked.

Every YouTube channel is associated with at least one Google Account. When a YouTube channel is hacked, it means that at least one of the Google Accounts associated with the channel is also compromised.

If you notice any of the following, your Google Account may have been hacked, hijacked, or compromised:

  • Changes you didn’t make: Your profile picture, descriptions, email settings, AdSense for YouTube association, or sent messages are different.
  • Uploaded videos that aren't yours: Someone has posted videos as your Google Account. You may get email notifications about these videos for penalties or strikes against bad content.

Google Accounts may be hacked, hijacked, or compromised for various reasons. These reasons include harmful content (malware) and deceptive emails disguised as a type of service that you’re familiar with (phishing). To keep your account safe, never share your email address and password information with others. Never download files or software from a source you don’t trust.

To recover a hacked YouTube channel, it’s necessary to first recover the hacked Google Account associated with the YouTube channel.

There are 3 steps to recover your YouTube channel:

1. Recover and secure the hacked Google Account associated with the YouTube channel
2. Revert unwanted changes on the YouTube channel immediately to avoid policy repercussions like Community Guidelines or copyright strikes
3. Reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your Google Account by using security best practices with all associated channel users

Recover your Google Account

You can still sign in to your Google Account

It’s important to update your password and secure your Google Account. Then, move on to the next step.

You can't sign in to your Google Account

For help with getting back into your Google Account:

  1. Follow the steps to recover your Google Account or Gmail.
  2. Reset your password when prompted. Choose a strong password that you haven't already used with this account. Learn how to create a strong password.

Ask your channel managers/owners to follow the same steps to secure their Google Account.

Revert your channel to its pre-hacked state

When a hacker gains control of your channel, there are several changes they can make to your account and its associated Google Account. Learn more about cleaning up a hacked YouTube channel.

Reduce the risk of unauthorized access

Once you have completed the above steps, it’s important to secure the Google Account linked to your YouTube channel.

If your channel was terminated after your Google Account was hacked

Once you recover your Google Account, you can find an email with more details about how to appeal channel termination in your inbox. Once you've recovered your hacked Google Account, you can appeal with this form. Your appeal may not be accepted if the account recovery is incomplete.

Get additional help from YouTube

If your channel is eligible (for example, if you’re in the YouTube Partner Program), 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.

Frequently asked questions

I’ve recovered my channel, but how do I know whether the hacker has been kicked out?

It's not always possible for us to determine that the hijacker has been removed. We recommend you review your YouTube channel and make sure your Google account is secure to prevent future hacks from occurring.  

If the hacker uploaded videos that violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines, will I get in trouble? Could my channel be terminated?

Make sure you delete any videos you didn’t upload immediately, as all content on YouTube must comply with our Community Guidelines. If your channel was terminated after being hacked, you can appeal here once you recover your Google Account. Your appeal may not be accepted if the account recovery is incomplete. If you have more questions, please get in touch with the Creator Support team.

One of the people who manages my channel had their account hacked. What can I do to prevent hijacking in the future?

It’s common for channels on YouTube to have more than one manager. You can improve the safety and security for your channel with these steps: 

  • Make sure you and the people on your team have taken steps to secure your accounts
  • Use the Channel Permissions tool and Brand Account tools to make sure only authorized accounts have access to manage your channel, and only at the permission level you want. Don’t share passwords or sign-in info with anyone else. The only access to your channel should be through the accounts authorized with the channel permissions feature.
  • To help prevent data breaches, use a different email for your YouTube channel than the one you use for other accounts. If you use the same email across platforms and someone gets access to it, they can take over your YouTube and other accounts all at once.

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