Feeds

Mystery of crashing HP printers solved?

Telnet password bug prime suspect

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.