WiFi printers are brilliant. Sending a WhatsApp message is one thing, but it just doesn’t beat the personal touch of remotely printing a page to someone, asking them to put the kettle on.
Of course, anything connected to the internet is a security risk. Printers may not seem the biggest worry when it comes to a hacking, but your ink-hungry friend could still be part of a botnet, causing chaos for someone else on the internet.
Some hackers just want to educate though, and one has brilliantly warned more than 150,000 printer owners that their paper-puking-pal is at risk: by making them print a friendly robot demonstrating they’ve been hacked.
Over the weekend, an attacker using the alias “Stackoverflowin” used an automated program to track down printers without security controls. Any printer it found was made to print a note featuring a friendly robot telling them to cut off remote access.
Writing to Bleeping Computer, the hacker claimed there was no malice behind the attack, and he just wanted to promote better security. “Obviously there’s no botnet. People have done this in the past and sent racist flyers etc.. I’m not about that, I’m about helping people to fix their problem, but having a bit of fun at the same time ; ) Everyone’s been cool about it and thanked me to be honest.”
Printers from HP, Brother, Epson, Canon, Lexmark, Minolta and many more fell victim to the hack, and Twitter posts seem to indicate that even receipt printers weren’t immune to the attack:
Certainly his message, though confusing for the novice, has prompted some curiosity from those who received it. This is the trend of Google searches for Stackoverflowin in the last week:
So if your printer has sent you a friendly robot in the last few days, maybe it’s time to follow the advice and “close this port, skid.”
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