A pair of hackers have been forcing people’s TVs to display a message promoting the YouTube account of Felix Kjellberg − aka PewDiePie − in a campaign designed to increase awareness of vulnerabilities in home devices… and the YouTube account of PewDiePie.
The disruptive but informative campaign − which has been christened ‘#CastHack’ − is the brainchild of HackerGiraffe and j3ws3r, who have spent the first few days of 2019 targeting Chromecast, Google Home and smart TV users (via The Verge).
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Fortunately, their mission is to spread awareness, rather than anything nefarious. Still annoying though.
According to a website the hackers set up to mark the hack, more than 72,000 devices have so far been “exposed”, and more than 65,000 were forced to play the video clip promoting PewDiePie.
The hack is still ongoing, but HackerGiraffe and j3ws3r say they’ve now stopped forcing compromised devices to promote the YouTuber’s channel.
“If you came here because you’re a victim of #CastHack, then know that your Chromecast/SmartTV/GoogleHome is exposed to the public internet, and is leaking sensitive information related to your device and home,” the #CastHack website reads.
“We want to help you, and also our favorite YouTubers (mostly PewDiePie). We’re only trying to protect you and inform you of this before someone takes real advantage of it. Imagine the consequences of having access to the information above.”
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According to Google, the hack relies on a specific router setting. In order to protect yourself, HackerGiraffe and j3ws3r say you should do the following: “Disable UPnP on your router, and if you’re port forwarding ports 8008/8443/8009 then STOP forwarding them.”
They added: “We just want to have a bit of fun while educating and protecting people from open devices on the [internet].”
Were you affected by the attack? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.