Hacking Printers: How Safe Is Your Network from Malware Attacks?

Hacking Printers How Safe Is Your Network from Malware Attacks

Computers are so integrally provided with safeguards that hacking and obtaining sensitive information is not as easy as one might consider. It seems that a computer network is well guarded (like Fort Knox) that hacking becomes a thorough job even for professional hackers. But as some experts surmise that if a frontal computer attack is not possible, doing a turn around by hacking printers can still get the results. A study made on the HP network laser printers reveals the vulnerability, concluding that printer hack carries maximum threat to otherwise perceived secure files.

How real of a threat does hacking printers contribute? According to a study made by a Columbia University research team on the HP network laser printers, the threat is genuine and needs immediate resolution. The risk is evident because most computer systems carry the Remote Firmware Update software via the Internet. And as usually practiced, digital signatures never verify the upgrade software authenticity, thus printer hack is easily done as anybody can have access and coax the printer to probably erase the existing firmware and instead install a malware and detecting an installed malware is almost impossible.

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How vulnerable is your system to hacking printers? Practically all printers now in operation, not just the HP network laser printers can be hacked. This threat is really a cause for concern because printer design software does not require software upgrade verification, particularly the older models (pre 2009 series). Under this condition, printers could be uploaded with malicious code instead of the firmware update â all this without the user’s knowledge that something treacherous is about to happen. And once printer hack is completed, fixing the flaw will be tough and may even include throwing out the printer and start afresh.

How are printer hacks done? Hacking is made through the PJL (Printer job Language), and for those not familiar with the acronym, it is the core of the communication system. The PJL is actually the main artery of the PCL (Printer Command Language), the essential source of datum on how print jobs are communicated to the printer. For older printer models, the PJL is not fashioned with a separate password, unlike the recent types that have the ability to protect the printing stream but only very minimal. Sad to note that only the new HP network laser printers have this feature, thus hacking printers is somehow thwarted.

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Remember that as of this moment, no network can be considered as secure and users will just have to use firewalls not only on the computer but on the printer as well. BE AWARE, the printer hacking threat is real!

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