The hacker who’s taken credit for compromising connected devices such as printers and smart televisions in support of YouTube star PewDiePie has gone dark, apparently due to fears of prosecution as well as death threats.
According to multiple reports, the individual known as TheHackerGiraffe deleted his (or her/their) accounts on Twitter, Cloudflare, Patreon and other social media platforms, and destroyed a server used in one of his hacking stunts. The hacker had been using many of these communication channels to spread awareness of common device and website vulnerabilities while simultaneously lobbying the public to subscribe to gaming commentator PewDiePie’s YouTube channel.
“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,” TheHackerGiraffe wrote in a statement posted Thursday on Pastebin. “I just wanted to inform people of their vulnerable devices while supporting a YouTuber I liked. I never meant any [harm], nor did I ever have any ill intentions. I’m sorry if anything I’ve done has made you feel under attack or threatened.”
Working at least part of the time in tandem with a second hacker known as j3ws3r, TheHackerGiraffe has pranked IoT device owners on multiple occasions since November 2018. He twice forced tens of thousands of printers to spit out pro-PewDiePie message messages. Most recently, the hacker targeted improperly secured Chromecasts, smart TVs and Google home assistants, causing them to broadcast PewDiePie’s channel. Reportedly, the hacker condemned another recent attack in which a Wall Street Journal web page was altered to display an apology to PewDiePie for past negative coverage of the internet personality. “I don’t support defacement. Now @j3ws3r and I will be painted all across media as evil hackers that promoted kids to illegally hijack a media company’s website to promote @pewdiepie,” he said on Twitter, according to a Threatpost report from last December.
According to reports, TheHackerGiraffe said in an audio Periscope recording that his actions have elicited multiple threats to his life, as well as an unsubstantiated warning that the FBI may be investigating him.
“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,” continues the Pastebin statement. “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.”
Before disappearing, TheHackerGiraffe offered one last message on Pastebin for his favorite celebrity: “@pewdiepie, I love your content man, keep on going.”