You may think of YouTube as a home to get your tech news from Jon and the rest of our team, or for cat videos and how-to clips. There’s a much darker side to Google’s video service, however, and a new report from the Digital Citizens Alliance reveals that hackers are using YouTube to sell stolen credit card data, often while Google is profiting on ads from legitimate businesses.

The group published its report, titles “Breach of Trust: How the Online Market for Stolen and Bogus Credit Cards is Eroding Confidence in the Internet.” In it, the Digital Citizens Alliance points to hackers who are posting thousands of credit card numbers and CCVs for sale, even sometimes with complete bank log-in information.

The report shows a screen shot where one video selling credit card data is published right next to an ad for Target, which was victim to a major attack earlier this year when 70 million credit card numbers were stolen from its systems. Does Target know that its business is being advertised next to thieves selling credit cards that very well could have come from the major breach? Likely not, which is the problem.

“The unholy alliance between hackers stealing credit card numbers and online markets advertising stolen and bogus credit cards has existed right under our noses,” the group argues. “Hackers have been promoting the sale of stolen or bogus credit cards on online markets for years, including on some of our most popular online websites such as YouTube.” Worse, the group notes that because there are ads next to these videos, Google is actually making money off of the illegal activities. Check out the stunning number of results for searches involving finding data on stolen credit cards:


Digital Citizens Alliance calls on YouTube to stop the activity, and for consumers to speak up when they see this sort of action online. It even draws comparisons throughout the report between YouTube and Silk Road, another dark corner of the Internet where everything illegal under the sun can be purchased and sold. For now, the Digital Citizens Alliance says it’s going to start to outreach to brands that are being advertised next to illegal videos, with hopes that they’ll bring the fight to Google’s doorstep.