UPDATE, March 24, 2021: In January, Motherboard published an article about a hacker who locked multiple people out of their internet-connected chastity cages. That story was based on third-party security research, widespread public complaints from users who had been hacked, interviews with two victims, messages between a hacker and victims, and a statement from the affected company.
After that story was published, Motherboard spoke to another alleged victim, "Sam Summers" and published the article you see below. On March 24, an Australian comedian named Lewis Spears revealed that he fabricated the story. Spears also fabricated a screenshot as evidence to back up this story. Motherboard can no longer stand behind this article which we are retaining in full for transparency. We regret the error.
Sam Summers was sitting at home with his penis wrapped in an internet-connected chastity cage when he got a weird message on the app that connects to the device. Someone told him they had taken control and they wanted around $1,000 in Bitcoin to give control back to Summers.
"Initially, I thought it was my partner doing that," Summers told Motherboard in a phone call. "It sounds silly, but I got a bit excited by it."
But when Summers called his partner, she told him it wasn't her, even after he told her their safe word. That's when he realized he had gotten hacked. His penis was locked in the cage, and he had no way out.
"Oh, shit, it's real," Summers said. "I started looking at the thing. There's no manual override at all. It's a chastity belt, I guess it kind of shouldn't [have an override.] But when it's a digital thing like that, it should have a key or something. But it obviously didn't."
"I don't have a scar or anything but I was bleeding and it fucking hurt."
"I started freaking out a bit," he added. "I was just panicking at this point."
Summers is one of several people who purchased a chastity cage device called Cellmate and produced by Qiui, a China-based manufacturer. Some of the device's owners got their accounts—and thus their devices as well—hacked at the end of last year, after security researchers warned that the manufacturer left an exposed and vulnerable API, which could allow hackers to take control of the devices.
Scared and a bit desperate, Summers realized he had some Bitcoin stashed in an old account. So he sent the hacker what they wanted, hoping that would be it. But when the hacker got the money, they asked for more, according to Summers.
"That's when I felt fucking stupid and angry," Summers said.
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At that point, Summers and his partner started brainstorming ways to get his penis out of the cage. At home, they only had a hammer, so they went out and bought a pair of bolt cutters. His partner tried first, but she couldn't break through. So Summers had to do it himself. The way he was holding his penis put it "in a dangerous spot," he said, so it was "very scary."
Nonetheless, he was able to break the cage, but the cutters still cut through him, he said.
"I don't have a scar or anything but I was bleeding and it fucking hurt," Summers said.
Because of the cut, Summers and his partner were not able to have sex for over a month, according to him. This incident also made Summers reconsider using internet-connected devices, especially those that go around his most private parts.
"If you're into it, that's fine, because you're into what you're into," he told me. "But use a lock, a physical lock in case. These digital things, you cannot trust them."
After he got out of the Cellmate, he threw it away and deleted the app. The whole experience did not leave him a physical scar, but definitely traumatized him. While this was obviously not the same as a physical assault or harassment, it was a bit like that.
"A stranger coming into that world that's supposed to be just you and you and your partner, or you and someone else," Summers said. "And they are there without your consent. They're doing that to you, and there's nothing you can do about it."