Facepalm: A hacker hijacked 50,000 printers around the world to promote PewDiePie's YouTube channel and spread awareness about cybersecurity for printers.
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.
Spread the word with your friends about printers and printer security! This is actually a scary matter. Will tweet everything about this entire #pewdiepie hack later to explain to everyone exactly what went down. Also @pewdiepie please notice me— TheHackerGiraffe (@HackerGiraffe) November 30, 2018
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.