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50,000 printers were hijacked to promote PewDiePie

By David Matthews · 26 replies
Dec 1, 2018
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  1. In a bit of strange news, approximately 50,000 printers were hijacked to print out messages asking people to subscribe to popular Youtuber PewDiePie. A hacker by the name of TheHackerGiraffe took responsibility and claimed the hack was to spread awareness about printer security and to get PewDiePie to notice him.

    Printers located in various locations around the world were hit with the attack including the United States, Canada, and England. TheHackerGiraffe used a website called Shodan.io to search for internet-connected printers. From there, he used a tool called Printer Exploitation Toolkit or PRET to send print commands to the unsecured printers. PRET also allows you to do some pretty invasive things like manipulate print jobs and access the file system.

    Fortunately, it seems that this was more of a prank than a serious attempt at exploitation. Although TheHackerGiraffe was kind enough to provide the scripts and ports he used to exploit the printers, it does highlight how insecure many IoT devices are.

    As far as PewDiePie, his subscribers have been locked into a battle with Indian music company, T-Series, for the most subscribers. TheHackerGiraffe mentioned that he was "a huge fan of PewDiePie and thought it might give him a slight edge in his struggle to remain the number one."

    Regardless of whether or not you care about PewDiePie, we all should be more cognizant of how our connected devices can turn on us if we aren't careful.

    Permalink to story.

  2. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 598   +1,201

    'Spread awareness about printer security' is a half believable excuse. But "Get PewDiePie to notice him?" Someone get this kid a life..
    Reehahs, Dimitrios and Uncle Al like this.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,846

    @David Matthews "A hacker by the name of TheHackerGiraffe took responsibility and claimed the hack was to spread awareness about printer security and to get PewDiePie to notice him".

    You'd think he would have tried something more conventional..:confused:

    Perhaps shaving everything below his ears, troweling on some makeup, a garter belt & black fishnets, then capping it off with a pair of rhinestone stilettos......all the while lip syncing to Beyonce

    Unless of course, "TheHackerGiraffe" is already a female, (in spirit of course), in which case "she" likely has already tried that. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,846

    FIXED! :eek:
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,142   +3,565

    If ever there was a reason to more closely purify the gene pool I think we've found it!
    MonsterZero likes this.
  6. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 372   +150

    Someone watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show lately.
  7. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 559   +199

    Wow, I really hate the attitude around here. You are taking the hacker far too seriously. So what if he is a fan of a youtuber? So what if he is trying to participate in a light hearted sub fight? Its all in good fun and you all talk like he is some deranged lunatic obsessing over a youtube personality. He tried to bring light to bad cyber security while having a little fun too. Since when have any of you even tried making a difference?
  8. Dyson Parkes

    Dyson Parkes TS Booster Posts: 28   +24

    There was no need to bring trying to get noticed by a celebrity figure into a cybersecurity issue. The two are unrelated things, so that is very much exploiting security weakness for gain - which is most definitely not white-hat. While it's not their gain directly, it's still hacking for an individuals benefit.

    This instant attack assuming that the people condemning someone for misusing skills have done nothing of use themselves is the kind of thing I hate. This individual went too far for the 'sub war' when his attempt to gain subs for the channel involved hijacking other peoples devices. Insulting the people who are calling it out as wrong is just moronic.
    If I stole your car to raise awareness of a channel simply because you happened to leave the door open, you'd not be happy. This is damn-near the same thing.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,701   +2,070

    I was thinking the same thing. In fact, @Scshadow might have a look at the historical similarities between this act and this one - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hinckley_Jr. Both acts were illegal and both were doing the wrong things for the wrong reason. The right thing would have been the hacker attempting to bring notice to the printer manufacturers in private for no reward whatsoever.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,846

    I've never actually seen the entire show (IIRC).

    That post was triggered by an episode of "Blue Bloods" (!!), where a drag queen was murdered, and Danny Regan, (Donnie Wahlberg), caught the case. Ru Paul's show "Drag Race" was referenced in the script. Danny of course, denied enjoying the show, saying, "my wife watches it".

    Reference "Drag Race": https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1353056/

    Reference "Blue Bloods": https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1595859/?ref_=nv_sr_1 (Although I can't imagine too many people being unfamiliar with that).

    I worked in a record store selling hi-fi during the RHPS era. With likely 70+% of my coworkers being gay, as you might imagine, it was all the rage.
    GirlDownunder and Nero7 like this.
  11. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,840   +1,351

    What these empty souless people wouldn't do to get some attention...
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,846

    I think we should be working in the present tense here.

    People are most likely planning even more bizarre sh!t even as we speak. Jus' sayin'.
  13. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,396   +965

    What a horrible example. Nothing close to what was done.

    It's more like going around a parking lot, checking which cars are unlocked, and putting a note on the seat (leaving the car as is). No harm done (no printers were "stolen" from their houses lol).

    Man, you guys are taking this too seriously. This is a good example of why IOT devices need better security (and the news took notice).
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,846

    I don't think anybody is taking the prank too seriously.

    It's the creepy unilateral stalker / bromance narrative that this "giraffe dude" has advanced, that has me completely weirded out
  15. texasrattler

    texasrattler TS Evangelist Posts: 614   +231

    What better way to get you more subscribers than to tell everyone that their printers are not secured. Almost all online tech media would pick up the story. I think the rest of story is just bs. IMO just another stunt to get more subscribers for another popular streamer. Pewdiepie will do just about anything to stay popular. Not even him using racial slurs stops his popularity.
    I bet this story helps and puts him over the top.
  16. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,396   +965

    The guy I quoted seems to.

    And that part people are taking too seriously (too). It's meant to be a joke. I doubt the guy actually cares. And that last line of the tweet is a play off of "notice me senpai" (which, as dumb as it is, is used by PewDiePie a lot apparently).
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,846

    And this a**hole was probably joking about, "doing it to impress Jodie Foster" as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hinckley_Jr.

    I will say this twit is quite dilute by comparison... :rolleyes:
    MonsterZero and wiyosaya like this.
  18. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 385   +261

    I'm shocked he's still alive! I like to study people especially weirdo's like him. I thought he would Overdose or commit suicide for attention or just snap.
  19. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,440   +1,434

    You need to work on your analogies... no it’s not like stealing your car.. but it’s also not like checking for unlocked cars and leaving a note telling you to lock your car.

    It’s like leaving a note saying “go support xxx.com and by the way - lock your car next time”

    It’s the “support xxx.com” that gets people angry...

    The thing is, the reporters of this story showed irresponsible reporting. The article should simply have stated that the hacker supported a “popular youtuber” - by naming the person, they got exactly what they wanted - more publicity.
  20. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +3,183

    Either way, those people are now aware of their insecure printer. That's a net gain in my eyes.
    GirlDownunder and m4a4 like this.
  21. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,396   +965

    Yes, that falls under "It's more like" and also "putting a note".
    thumbs up.

    And being a little annoying still doesn't do any harm.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  22. Dyson Parkes

    Dyson Parkes TS Booster Posts: 28   +24

    Good amendment of the analogy - that is more accurate. I would say opening the car, starting it up for a bit, turning it off and leaving a note - using someone's consumables would be akin to using someone's gas, to my mind.
    Either way, I fully agree - it should have been reported much differently. Anonymise as much as possible.
  23. mattfrompa

    mattfrompa TS Evangelist Posts: 576   +73

    How horrible, this guy stole 50,000 printers. Oh wait, that's not what happened at all. People who are too lazy or incompetent to secure the resources they rely on deserve to be embarrassed. And involving a celebrity undoubtedly increased the audience for all of this. Yes people absolutely should know which products are left unfinished. Or maybe you would rather buy a car that is mostly put together. That sounds safe to me.The harm could have been far greater, this hacker deserves a good job and people here need to stop pretending that companies will give a crap about security until it affects their bottom line.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
    GirlDownunder likes this.
  24. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 546   +297

    I didn't think I could dislike Pewdiepie any more than I already did, but this definitely helped.
    captaincranky and wiyosaya like this.
  25. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Booster Posts: 103   +32

    Calling a very mentally-ill man a "weirdo" is pretty awful. His life was ruined, as was Brady's and anyone who cared about them. I feel terrible for everyone involved. His mother must have been horrified & crushed by it. :(

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