Feeds

Mystery of crashing HP printers solved?

Telnet password bug prime suspect

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

A DoS vulnerability with the installation and management software used on HP's line of commercial print servers has been reported.

The potential flaw, which HP has not so far publically acknowledged, is interesting not because it is particularly devasatating (it isn't) but because it may explain problems our readers are having with printers of late.

According to a posting on security mailing list BugTraq, HP JetDirect devices configured using the JetAdmin web interface fail to set a password for Telnet access when the administrator password is chosen.

Because of this the Telnet port of a printer will be left exposed to unrestricted remote access. This means (at least in theory) that hackers could create a denial of service. The potential also exists to monitor printer activity, and this might be used to gather information to use in subsequent attacks on systems, according to the posting.

Hewlett-Packard hasn't issued a response to the report, so we can't be certain there's a genuine problem. That said we give a lot of credence to the alert because it goes a long way to explain a number of emails we've had of late complaining of unexplained crashes on HP printers.

Many users have attributed this to the side effects of scanning from the Code Red worm but security testing experts at NTA Monitor told us the Telnet vulnerability was a more likely cause.

Security experts advise that the easiest way to guard against the possible Telnet vulnerability is to manually set a password for access through Telnet on the device. Looking at blocking off access to Telnet ports on devices through setting up an appropriate rule on a firewall wouldn't go amiss either.

During the DefCon conference last month a denial of service attack that exploited an FTP access vulnerability on HP JetDirect devices was discussed.

According to an email sent to the Register, HP support staff were told to advise users to guard against the problem by either disabling FTP access to the JetDirect card or change the default gateway on JetDirect to an internal address.

Support staff were told not to discuss the problem with users as this could "cause unnecessary fear for their security, and general lack of faith in the product".

We will leave you to decide if HP is taking the same stance with the reported Telnet password vulnerability. ®

External links

HP JetDirect JetAdmin Password Vulnerability
HP JetDirect Invalid FTP Command DoS Vulnerability

Related Stories

HP launches Web-enabled printers
Code Red and the Cisco Side Effect
MS internal network whacked by Code Red
Son of Code Red is born
Internet survives Code Red
IIS buffer-overrun attack has been scripted
MS confronts another IIS system-level hole

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?