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Printers, TVs and media sites: hackers massively hack devices to support the blogger PewDiePie

For several months he has been fighting for the title of the most popular YouTube channel, and the call to subscribe to him has become a meme.

Felix Chelberg, 29, known by his nickname PewDiePie, has been fighting for the title of the most popular YouTube channel for several months. His main competitor is the Indian music company T-Series. At the time of this writing, the difference between the channels is about 900 thousand subscribers: 79.7 million for PewDiePie versus 78.8 million for T-Series.

Every day the balance of power is changing, so Chelberg fans staged a large-scale campaign to attract new subscribers. And in order to achieve the goal, they began to use hacking sites and devices around the world.

The standoff began in August 2018. PewDiePie has calculated that if the T-Series channel continues to gain subscribers at the same pace, it will outrun the Swede blog. In October, coordinated actions by blogger fans began to preserve leadership on YouTube.

The phrase “subscribe to PewDiePie” became a meme: they began to publish it in all places where Chelberg could find new supporters. For example, the author of the blog MrBeast bought outdoor advertising in his city with a request to subscribe to PewDiePie.

A few weeks later, a billboard with Chelberg appeared in Times Square – one of the most expensive advertising space.

Flyers in support of the PewDiePie in Bangladesh
Banner in support of PewDiePie in Times Square

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Banner in support of the PewDiePie in North Carolina
Banner in support of the PewDiePie in North Carolina

Since the end of November, hackers have joined the action. For three months they managed to be noted in three major hacks.

November 2018: Hacking Printers

In November, the owners of printers around the world began to report that their devices themselves began to print leaflets in support of PewDiePie. The message from the hacker “Giraffe” said that the blogger is losing ground in the fight against the T-Series, which means that users should immediately subscribe to Chelberg and inform everyone they know.

Later, the hacker told The Verge that he was trying to draw users’ attention to the vulnerability of their printers. In 2017, another hacker acted in a similar way , hacking 150,000 printers using port 9100 vulnerability. The giraffe limited itself to 50,000 devices: “The worst part is that I have never cracked down on printers. The process from learning to downloading leaflets took me about half an hour. ”

December 2018: Wall Street Journal Hacking

On December 17, unknown blogger fans hacked into the affiliate page of the Wall Street Journal website. They posted an apology on behalf of the staff of the publication, who allegedly promised to sponsor PewDiePie in its fight for the title of the most popular YouTube channel.

It was with the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that Chelberg launched anti-Semitic charges that cost the blogger major advertising contracts. The management of the publication promptly removed the appeal from the hackers and began investigating the incident.

January 2019: Hacking TVs

On January 3, a group of hackers said it had gained control over 100 thousand Smart TVs and 65 thousand Chromecast devices. As a result, several thousand devices began to show a video with a request to sign on PewDiePie.

The BBC has found several people who have encountered a burglary: according to them, the TV itself starts to play a video every 20 minutes, after which everything stops. Google representatives noted that they were aware of the situation, but stressed that the point is not Chromecast, but in the settings of the users’ router.

On January 4, the hacker “Giraffe”, from which it all began, declared that he would no longer engage in hacking in order to support PewDiePie.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I just wanted to tell people about the vulnerability of devices, and at the same time support the blogger I liked. I have never had bad intentions. I am very sorry that I did something that made you feel in danger. I think I learned a lesson from this.[/perfectpullquote]
hacker “Giraffe”
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