A bored young hacker known online on Twitter as TheHackerGiraffe has exposed vulnerabilities that could be potentially dangerous for networked printers.
TheHackerGiraffe exploited vulnerabilities in security protocols for internet-connected devices using Shodan to hack into 50,000 exposed printers as part of the “Save PewDiePie” campaign.
On Sunday, T-Series’ subscriber count came within less than 50,000 of surpassing PewDiePie.
So rather than allow that to happen as a troll, TheHackerGiraffe decided to search Shodan, a search engine built specifically to find vuInternet-connected devices. Which resulted to his amazement in 800,000 vulnerable printers. Then TheHackerGiraffe downloaded PRET, a tool that would allow him to access files, damage the printer access the internal network and view the printer’s memory.
In a thread, on Twitter, he described his shock at discovering what PRET would allow him do to the printers.
“PRET had the scariest of features. Ability to access files, damage the printer, access the internal network; things that could really cause damage. So I had to do this, to at least help organisations and people that can protect themselves.”
In the Twitter thread, TheHackerGiraffe revealed that while looking at ways to apply support for PewDiePie (without the streamer’s knowledge or permission of hacking 50,000 printers), he decided to carry out his own guerilla printing campaign using the vulnerable internet-connected printers.
Rather than damage the printers as a blackhat might do for fun, TheHackGiraffe decided to just use his access to print out flyers from the vulnerable printers and print out a message urging people to subscribe to PewDiePie’s channel. He also urged the unsuspecting civilians to unsubscribe from T-Series if they were, with the Youtuber’s signature “brofist” cavitate.
— Danny Boitano (@TFGHighlights) November 27, 2018
In a video he posted himself about the fight to retain his crown, PewDiePie whose real name is Felix Kjellberg – said he enjoyed the support.
“All of this support to keep me on top is so funny. I love it. Please keep it up,” PewDiePie said.
“But don’t do anything illegal OK… because that will look bad on me,” he added.
TheHackerGiraffe interviewed with The Verge in which he stated what was possible due to the vulnerable printers he found. Which as of this writing is still 800,000 printers.
“Hackers could have stolen files, installed malware, caused physical damage to the printers and even used the printer as a foothold into the inner network,” they said.
“The most horrifying part is I never considered hacking printers before, the whole learning, downloading and scripting process took no more than 30 minutes”, the Hacker told the technology news website TheVerge.
Now imagine what’s possible, if your printer is vulnerable due to open ports, all types of information could be stolen directly from the printer’s memory, malicious software could be installed to log everything printed and much more. The Moral of the story is obviously close your ports. Lucky for victims of this printing campaign the hacker didn’t have a malicious intent.