Seen something strange on your printer? You're not alone
If you thought securing your PC was enough to stay safe online – now it seems that hackers are also able to hijack your printer.
Hundreds of thousands of devices across the world have been affected by an attack that hijacked printers to print out strange messages.
All kinds of printers were affected – from home devices to shop receipt printers – but luckily it seems the event was more of a warning than a threat.
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The message was printed out on hundreds and thousands of devices worldwide
Over 150,000 devices have been affected so far, spewing out pages of old-school ASCII images.
Luckily, the attacker, who uses the pseudonym Stackoverflowin, don’t appear to have any malicious intent, as the hijack just printed out a warning urging the victims to better protect their device.
The hacker used an automated program to search for unprotected printers, before override security protection to print out the pages.
These were accompanied by a message reading, “Hacked. Stackoverflowin/stack the almighty, hacker god has returned to his throne, as the greatest memegod. Your printer is part of a flaming botnet. Your printer has been pwn’d.”
The attacks were not limited to any particular make of printer, with products from companies including Canon, Epson, Lexmark and HP all affected.
All kinds of printers were affected by the hijack, from home to office printers
The hacker told The Register, ”It was kind of on impulse, I had been looking into printers for a while prior to this, about a few months before.
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“I saw multiple articles about printers and it invoked my curiosity again, and yeah, it went from there."
The assault does raise a worrying point about the security of such devices, which could become unwilling gateways to a user’s PC or network through attacks similar to the recent Mirai botnet.
Such assaults are able to hijack smart devices that are connected to the internet and use them to bombard networks with millions of requests, overloading the system completely.
The event comes shortly after German researchers found sever shortcomings in the security protection of a large number of printers available today.
The report, which tested 20 separate printers from some of the world’s top manufacturers, found that all of them could be vulnerable to annoying or damaging attacks.
This included an alarming assault which transformed the printer in to a gateway to the larger connected computer network, which could leave businesses open to attack.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a cyber-attack, you can read Express.co.uk’s guide on the next steps to take here.