Hackers are once again hacking, and this time in the name of keeping PewDiePie the king of YouTube.
As you may know, Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg has been the most subscribed to channel on YouTube for quite some time, but recently that title came under threat from T-Series, a channel owned by an Indian music production company that has been growing like heck this year, and is currently only about 150,000 subscribers behind PewDiePie's 72 million-plus.
Looking at the subscriber trajectory of both channels, it seems inevitable that T-Series will past Kjellberg, but not without a fight. And desperate times call for desperate measures, with the latest effort in the campaign to keep PewDiePie at top featuring hackers hacking printers across the world with the message to subscribe to Kjellberg's channel.
That's right, this past week 50,000 printers in the United States, Canada, and England all suddenly began printing out a strange message urging people to get on YouTube and hit that subscribe button for PewDiePie.
Why are local printers being hacked for this pic.twitter.com/fAnNTIp6ds— madison. (@maddybenavente1) November 29, 2018
A hacker by the named of TheHackerGiraffe, took credit for the stunt, and revealed to Engadget that he found the suspectible printers via Shodan.io -- which is essentially a search engine that finds unsecured and vulnerable devices that are connected to the Internet, like many printers. According to TheHackerGiraffe, there were about 800,000 printers that could have been exploited.
As for why the hacker did it, well because he, like many of PewDiePie's fans, doesn't want the YouTuber to be passed by no T-Series.
"I am honestly a huge fan of Pewds to begin with, but at the same time I wanted a light-hearted message that would kind of humanize me instead of just printing a big scary 'YOU'VE BEEN HACKED,'" TheHackerGiraffe said in a statement given to Engadget. "I am a huge fan of PewDiePie and thought it might give him a slight edge in his struggle to remain the number one."
As for how it was done, the hacker claims it was via a tool called PRET, which allows for hackers to capture and manipulate print jobs by accessing a printer's file system and memory. Using the tool, a hacker could cause physical damage to the device or use said device as a foothold to get into the inner network that the printer is connected to.
"Your printer is exposed," wrote TheHackerGiraffe on Twitter "I'm trying to warn you to close it, how else am I gonna get your attention?"
TheHackerGiraffe further noted he didn't anticipate on the whole thing working, however, it was apparently pretty easy in the end.
"People underestimate how easy a malicious hacker could have used a vulnerability like this to cause major havoc," TheHackerGiraffe said while speaking to The Verge. "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."
As mentioned above, the chances PewDiePie will hold onto his YouTube title are small, but his fanbase sure is trying ita best.
Desperate times calls for desperate measures.. //t.co/ltWSh9RPOs— ƿ૯ωძɿ૯ƿɿ૯ (@pewdiepie) November 30, 2018