Over 35 fake Elon Musks live-streamed during SpaceX launch

YouTube was again flooded with deep fake versions of Elon Musk on Thursday, with scammers hoping to dupe space lovers trying to catch the latest launch of SpaceX’s Starship rocket.

Over 35 YouTube channels live-streamed an artificial intelligence-generated fake voice of Musk promising to return double the amount of crypto to those who deposited in the scheme, cybersecurity researchers at Avast Threat Labs said in a June 6 X post.

The scammy streams coincided with Musk’s SpaceX fourth test launch of its giant reusable Starship rocket. The real livestream showed it survived re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere, splashing down as planned in the Indian Ocean.


Hackers trying to steal #crypto through fake @SpaceX @YouTube channel with QR code to @elonmusk be aware of this scam on behalf of your name #deepfake

Jun 06, 2024

Cointelegraph found one YouTube channel had masqueraded as an official SpaceX account and pushed three simultaneous livestreams airing the scam, with 170,000 viewers tuning in — likely bots to make the stream appear legitimate.

The livestreams showed wide-angle footage of Musk speaking on stage at an outdoor SpaceX event but some blurred the face just enough so users would have a hard time spotting the fake.

An AI voice with Musk’s likeness instructed viewers to send Bitcoin BTCUSD or Ether ETHUSD to an address to get double back.

The AI voice did a decent job at copying Musk’s vocal disfluencies, such as stutters and pauses — and promised “this is not a fake, this is a real giveaway. I personally guarantee it to you.”


“You have a chance to see your crypto propel exponentially as our rocket propels toward the stars,” the voice said deadpan, followed by a recording of an applauding crowd.

It’s unclear how many viewers were duped by the scams. Cointelegraph observed nine Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin DOGEUSD wallets from what appeared to be three separate scammers that together showed a balance of around $34,000. Many of the latest transactions were recorded on June 6.

The streams have now been taken down and the YouTube channel has rebranded to emulate the Cardano Foundation. At the time of writing it was pushing the same scam through a deep fake livestream of Cardano co-founder Charles Hoskinson.

Musk’s likeness is often used in crypto scams as the billionaire has long expressed support for cryptocurrencies, especially Dogecoin.

In April, security researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk found similar fake SpaceX YouTube accounts with live-streamed AI-generated Musks pushing the same double-your-money scam in conjunction with a solar eclipse seen in North America.

Hong Kong’s securities watchdog last month shuttered a firm with deep fake videos of Musk on its site and social media accounts which claimed he developed the technology for its supposed AI crypto trading service.

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