Microsoft briefly loses YouTube channel

Microsoft's YouTube channel was briefly taken over by persons unknown this weekend, with the company's promotional videos being replaced.

According to a message posted by the unknown individual - or individuals - the take-over was more of a take-back. "I did nothing wrong," a message to the Microsoft YouTube channel read, "I simply signed into my account that I made in 2006."

Other YouTube users have suggested that the attack comes from a simple mechanism: the password reset email system.

If the message is accurate, it seems that a 'squatter' originally registered a YouTube account under Microsoft's name. Discovering this, Microsoft will have applied to YouTube to have the account turned over for its use as the registered trademark holder.

During that process, it is suggested, YouTube failed to remove the original owner's email credentials from the account. As a result, the channel creator was able to reset the password and take full control over the account.

"If that's true, then it's a colossal foul-up by YouTube that may concern other well-known brands who have established presences on the video network," writes Sophos's security expert Graham Cluley of the attack.

The deletion of the previously uploaded videos will have hurt Microsoft's PR efforts, as the promotional materials often find themselves embedded on third-party websites directly from YouTube.

As of this morning, the channel is back to normal. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the attack to thinq_: "We have regained control of the Microsoft channel on YouTube, and we are working to restore all of the original content."

Sadly, Microsoft has yet to offer details on the precise attack vector, leaving other corporate YouTube accounts taken from squatters' hands wondering if they'll be next.