Feeds

Spam spewing printer attack pulps security

Cross Site Printing for Spamming

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

As if spam email wasn't intrusive and annoying enough, spammers might have a means at their disposal to send unwanted messages as print jobs to networked printers.

The attack - dubbed Cross Site Printing for Spamming - relies on abusing a built in (but seldom used) facility on networked printers after tricking users into visiting a maliciously-constructed website.

Networked printers listen on a permanently open port (port 9100) and without authentication. Printers are fundamentally insecure, a factor that makes possible attacks far from difficult, security researcher Adam Weaver warns.

So all hackers would have to do is determine a printer's IP address, connect with it and force a termination that would cause the printer to spew out garbage. JavaScript trickery might be used to force the termination and subsequent HTTP Post or garbage to be printed, which might even be formatted using PostScript commands.

Other tricks including sending fax messages, formatting a printer's hard drive, or downloading new (potentially malicious) firmware may also be possible, security firm Trend Micro adds.

The network printer hijack attack is only a problem for printers connected via a local area network connection. Consumers who plug their printers directly into their PCs are not at risk.

Defending against the exploit involves keeping network printers secure. For example, admin passwords for printers should be established. It's also a good idea to limit print jobs processed to those originating from a centralised print server.

The attack is not printer specific and relatively simple. Attack vectors such as iFrame injection from compromised websites could make printer spam a big problem in future, Heise Security adds. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Desperate VXers enslave FREEZERS in DDoS bot
Updated Spike malware targets Asia
Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI
A stranger turns up YOUR heat with default password 1234
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.