Security flaw in millions of printers can open door to hackers 

click to enlarge Hackers halfway across the world could hijack a printer and take control of an entire corporate network, obtaining easy access to confidential data for identity theft. The printer could even be set afire by repeated overheating. - AP FILE PHOTO
  • AP file photo
  • Hackers halfway across the world could hijack a printer and take control of an entire corporate network, obtaining easy access to confidential data for identity theft. The printer could even be set afire by repeated overheating.

WHAT: Columbia University researchers say they discovered a security flaw that is so fundamental that it may impact tens of millions of printers and other computer hardware that use built-in “embedded” firmware programs.

HOW: Many printers support automatic online “remote firmware updates.” Every time the printer accepts a job, it checks to see if a software update is included — but it typically doesn’t require a digital ID to verify the upgrade’s authenticity.

WHY IT’S OUTRAGEOUS: Hackers halfway across the world could hijack a printer and take control of an entire corporate network, obtaining easy access to confidential data for identity theft. The printer could even be set afire by repeated overheating.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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