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Printers hacked in effort to get people to subscribe to PewDiePie

PewDiePie/YouTube

The alleged hacker also wants people to think about printer security.

The ongoing saga of YouTuber PewDiePie and the Indian music channel T-Series has taken yet another weird turn.

T-Series has been set to overtake PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg) as the most-subscribed YouTube channel for a couple months, but his devoted fans have fought to keep him No. 1 with various promotional efforts. This week, however, something even stranger happened: According to the Verge, people reported receiving printouts from home and work printers urging them to subscribe to PewDiePie’s channel and unsubscribe from T-Series.

It appears, at least according to Twitter, that people received the same printout, which claims PewDiePie “is in trouble and he needs your help to defeat T-Series!” It also suggests people “Share awarness (sic) to this issue” with the hashtag #SavePewDiePie and ends with an image of a “Brofist,” one of PewDiePie’s trademark gestures.

On Friday, the Twitter account TheHackerGiraffe advised followers to “Spread the word with your friends about printers and printer security,” and seemed to take credit for the hack, saying they would “tweet everything about this entire #pewdiepie hack later.” The account was created this month and the first tweet was posted on Thursday.

The Nexus IT Support Twitter account claimed that, more specifically, printers were able to be compromised via port 9100, which allows internet-connected printers to be exploited.

Reached for comment, TheHackerGiraffe told the DailyDot that the hack was partly to “alert people” about the printer exploit and partly to get “media coverage” for PewDiePie. Via Twitter DM, they explained: “Over 800,000 printers are exposed online. That’s an INSANE number. I only picked 50,000 to not cause too much havoc. But if someone was persistent enough, they could have done MUCH worse than simply print. They could cause physical damage, use the printer as a foothold into the inner network, or just waste resources by printing on loop.”

As of Friday morning, the two channels appear to be neck-and-neck according to this live subscriber count.

H/T the Verge 

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.