Thousands of printers hacked across the globe after critical flaw exposed

Hot on the heels of the printer hacks across three US university campuses, which saw devices hijacked to produce anti-Semitic fliers, comes another attack on internet-connected printers – this time on a global scale.

A hacker going by the name Stackoverflowin has taken it upon himself to reveal how easy it is to access net-connected printers operating without a firewall.

Using an automated script he wrote himself, the hacker was able to scan for and identify devices with Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), Line Printer Daemon (LPD) and port 9100 open, then send out rogue print jobs to the targeted devices.

Some of the printed messages warns the user that their device has been “pwned” and are now “part of a flaming botnet”.

Two versions of the message were reportedly sent out to, as the hacker claims, more than 160,000 machines – the first with ASCII art depicting a robot and the second with ASCII art showing a computer.

Laugh it up, funny man

The message sent by Stackoverflowin also asks users to “close this port, skid”.

Users were left amused and confused, and many went online asking for advice on what to do.

Slackoverflowin didn’t discriminate between brands of printers either – Canon, Brother, Epson, HP, Samsung and Konica Minolta were amongst the list of the 150,000 affected printers.

He claims that this prank was done in good fun. Speaking to Bleeping Computer, he said, “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.”

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, Sharmishta's main priority is being TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor, looking after the day-to-day functioning of the Australian, New Zealand and Singapore editions of the site, steering everything from news and reviews to ecommerce content like deals and coupon codes. While she loves reviewing cameras and lenses when she can, she's also an avid reader and has become quite the expert on ereaders and E Ink writing tablets, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about these underrated devices. Other than her duties at TechRadar, she's also the Managing Editor of the Australian edition of Digital Camera World, and writes for Tom's Guide and T3.