Posted on January 3, 2019 at 7:08 PM
HackerGiraffe Strikes Again: Over 65,000 Smart TVs Hacked to Encourage People to Subscribe to PewDiePie
According to recent reports, a hacker calling himself “HackerGiraffe” made another move, in collaboration with another hacked called “j3ws3r.” The two started a hacking campaign called CastHack, which targets Smart TVs that were left unprotected by their owners.
The duo was previously responsible for hacking 500,000 unprotected printers. During this hack, the two urged their “victims” to subscribe to a popular YouTube celebrity, PewDiePie. They also used the opportunity to point out that people’s printers are not properly protected, which may lead to more serious exploits.
This time, however, the duo returned to hack thousands of unprotected Smart TVs, and play a video which encourages TV owners to subscribe to PewDiePie, yet again. In both of these hacks, the hacking duo pointed out that their main goal is to expose vulnerable devices.
Somebody is scanning the internet and playing YouTube videos to exposed Chromecast, Google Home and Samsung TVs – they're at about 4000 devices so far https://t.co/Rf0QMmnMTO pic.twitter.com/1XaFrvzmft
— Kevin Beaumont (I think) (@GossiTheDog) January 2, 2019
Subscribe to PewDiePie…and secure your devices
According to reports, hacked devices currently include Google Home, Chromecast, and Samsung TVs. Additionally, hackers even created a website devoted to this campaign, which explains that their victims were exposed to the public internet. The website also warns that this may lead to a leak of information related to users’ devices and homes.
Furthermore, the two stated that they wish to help in protecting these devices properly and that they are doing so by raising awareness through hacking. In addition, they also wish to raise awareness of their favorite YouTube personality — PewDiePie.
Apart from displaying the message to subscribe to PewDiePie (as well as other YouTube accounts, such as Pyrocynical, Dolan Dark, grandayy, and KeemStar), the two posted links to their Twitter accounts, as well as a counter of exposed devices, which currently numbers around 72,341 vulnerable Smart TVs, while over 65,000 of them were supposedly already forced to play a video supporting PewDiePie.
As mentioned, these hacks are not harmful, although they point out that numerous other online threats may find the same way in, and affect them with potentially much greater consequences. Victims of the attack are instructed to fix their routers by disabling UPnP and to stop port forwarding to ports 8008/8443/8009, which should increase the safety of these devices.
The hackers’ desire to encourage people to subscribe to their favorite YouTuber comes from their desire to see PewDiePie “win” the months-long battle for subscribers between a Swedish YouTuber and Indian music production company, T Series. PewDiePie (aka Felix Kjellberg) has been the most subscribed YouTube channel for over 5 years at this point, and as the Indian company started to approach his number of subscribers, a movement to keep him at the top spread throughout the YouTube community and beyond.
Many have taken to calling HackerGiraffe’s attacks “acts of vandalism,” although there are also those who are pointing out that the attackers are simply pointing out exploits while conducting a harmless prank in the process.