TheHackerGiraffe says he’s retired from hacking smart TVs to promote PewDiePie

Graham Cluley

HackerGiraffe says he's retired from hacking smart TVs to promote PewDiePie

HackerGiraffe says he's retired from hacking smart TVs to promote PewDiePie

TheHackerGiraffe, the hacker who breached innocent users’ unsecured printers, Google Chromecast streaming devices, and smart TVs to promote the PewDiePie YouTube channel, has announced his retirement.

In a Pastebin post, TheHackerGiraffe explained that he was “afraid of being caught and prosecuted.”

Hacker giraffe retires

So, here we are. At the endgame. I’m sorry for leaving so suddenly, and I’m sorry for all of you who expected more tutorials, guides, or anything. I can’t do this. It may not look like it, but the constant pressure of being afraid of being caught and prosecuted has been keeping me up and giving me all kinds of fears and panic attacks.

I just wanted to inform people of their vulnerable devices while supporting a YouTuber I liked. I never meant any hard, nor did I ever have any ill intentions. I’m sorry if anything I’ve done has made you feel under attack or threatened.

Most of all, I’m sorry to the people who supported me on Patreon. I didn’t want to leave like this, you deserve more for your money, and I’m truly sorry that I’ve failed to meet your demands and my promises when it comes to the guides.

@pewdiepie, I love your content man, keep on going.

I guess there is a lesson to be learned here, don’t fly too close to the sun and then act like you don’t know you’ll get burned. Well, here I am, burned and roasted, awaiting my maybe-coming end. I thank you all, thank you all so much for the past month. It’s been amazing to see all of you who wanted to learn hacking/cybersecurity. Please do push on, don’t give up! Stay safe, stay legal, and most of all, be civil.

What will I do now? Probably suffer from this horrible panic for the next few days before I completely lose my mind until either my end comes or this all flies over and I’ll probably never touch a computer again.

I hope I’m overreacting and this is all in my head, I really do hope so.

Peace out guys,
TheHackerGiraffe

The announcement comes days after ChromeCast owners started asking on the internet why their TVs were suddenly showing a video promoting the channel of YouTube superstar PewDiePie.

Hundreds of thousands of homes are thought to have left their TVs vulnerable by having incorrectly configured routers with UPNP enabled. The attack arguably raised awareness of the security vulnerability, but just because something hasn’t been properly secured doesn’t give you carte blanche to access it.

PewDiePie’s fans have engaged in all sorts of guerrilla marketing stunts to promote their YouTube hero, but TheHackerGiraffe’s antics of hijacking printers and now smart TVs are undoubtedly illegal unless the permission of the devices’ owners is given.

And cybercrime related to PewDiePie’s YouTube channel promotion is not limited to printer and TV-hijacking.

Last month, as we discussed on the “Smashing Security” podcast, PewDiePie fans defaced a section of the Wall Street Journal website – although TheHackerGiraffe denied any involvement in that attack.

Smashing Security #109: 'Grinches target Amazon and Reddit, stealing Christmas from the poor'

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Somehow I doubt that many people will have chosen to subscribe to PewDiePie’s YouTube channel as a direct result of TheHackerGiraffe’s activities. You have to ask if it was all worth it. TheHackerGiraffe, it seems, has seen the light and realised it isn’t.

Of course, TheHackerGiraffe’s retirement doesn’t mean that you need to take the security of your routers and IoT devices any less seriously.

Graham Cluley Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

One Reply to “TheHackerGiraffe says he’s retired from hacking smart TVs to promote PewDiePie”

  1. Happy new year Graham!

    I'm looking forward to another year of your great work. I wish you great success.

    Regards

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