50,000 printers hacked to promote YouTuber

(Image credit: Image Credit: TeroVesalainen / Pixabay)

Popular Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie could soon lose his top spot on the platform to the Indian channel T-Series and his most dedicated fans have taken the fight into their own hands.

What started innocently with fans going so far as to buy space on billboards to promote the YouTuber's gaming channel has crossed the line after one fan hacked 50,000 printers.

The hacker, who goes by the handle Hacker Giraffe, said they had identified 800,000 printers with open security settings and then selected 50,000 to print out a memo urging those affected to subscribe to PewDiePie's channel.

T-Series, which posts Bollywood film trailers and music videos, is quite close to overtaking the number one spot on the platform as both channels have more than 73m subscribers.

Hacking for subscribers

After the hack was completed successfully over the weekend, The Verge reached out to Hacker Giraffe asking for proof to which he explained how vulnerable most consumer printers are, saying:

“People underestimate how easy a malicious hacker could have used a vulnerability like this to cause major havoc. 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.”

PewDiePie responded to the hack and other efforts by fans to help him retain his top spot, saying:

"All of this support to keep me on top is so funny. I love it. Please keep it up, but don't do anything illegal OK... because that will look bad on me."

While the hack itself was not malicious in nature, it did shed light on how easily consumer devices can be compromised and hopefully printer manufacturers take note when designing future devices.

Via The BBC

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.