A security flaw in the HP LaserJet printers has recently been demonstrated by the Columbia University researchers, who are of the opinion that the flaw can enable the hackers to take control of the printers remotely, over the Internet.
According to the researchers, the flaw – which apparently not limited to HP printers alone – can be exploited by the hackers for reprogramming the laser printers with custom firmware. As a result, hackers not only obtain full control of the hacked printers but can also keep heating the fuser of the printers continually till paper starts burning.
The researchers revealed that the flaw is chiefly based on the not-so-perfect firmware upgrading process via a ‘Remote Firmware Update.’ The flaw stems from the fact that the source of the updated software is not checked by the printers, and the firmware update too lacks a packing with any digital signature to validate its source.
As such, it goes without saying that anybody can send a virus-ridden document to the printer, instructing the device to erase its existing firmware and install a malware-tied version. The process is even simpler for hackers for the printers that are configured to accept print jobs through the Internet.
Noting that devices like printers are “completely open” and “available to be exploited,” research director Prof Salvatore Stolfo said that the impact of the mentioned security flaw can be “very large” --- more so as the tech firms “aren't really looking into this corner of the Internet.”
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