A fan of YouTuber PewDiePie has claimed that he’s responsible for hacking over 50,000 printers to print a message encouraging people to subscribe to the internet star.
Appearing on Twitter as TheHackerGiraffe, the individual took to Reddit to admit what he’d done. “I hacked 50,000 printers worldwide out of potential 800,000 for PewDiePie and security awareness,” he said on the site’s AMA page.
Yesterday (December 1), the hacker posted a thread on Twitter to offer an explanation.
“I was bored after playing Destiny 2 for a continuous 4 hours, and decided I wanted to hack something,” they said. “So I thought of any vulnerable protocols I could find on shodan [a repository for internet-connected devices].”
Commenting on the lack of security, they said that they were “horrified to see over 800,000 results show up in total”.
“I was baffled, but determined to try and fix this,” they added. “So I picked the first 50,000 printers I found running on port 9100 and downloaded the list off shodan.”
Images of the print-outs had been shared online by those targetted, with one Twitter user asking: “Why are local printers being hacked for this”. Another suspected the YouTuber himself: “I work in IT around Brighton and our Printers are being hacked….is this your propaganda?” See the posts below.
Why are local printers being hacked for this pic.twitter.com/fAnNTIp6ds
— maddy (@maddyuhhh) November 29, 2018
— Rob Wainwright (@apex2504) November 27, 2018
Speaking to The Verge, the hacker elaborated on his motives for the bizarre attack. “People underestimate how easy a malicious hacker could have used a vulnerability like this to cause major havoc,” they said.
Saying what cybercriminals would use the tactic for, they explained: “Hackers could have stolen files, installed malware, caused physical damage to the printers and even use the printer as a foothold into the inner network.
“The most horrifying part is: I never considered hacking printers before, the whole learning, downloading and scripting process took no more than 30 minutes.”