A lot of people donâ€™t really care much about that printer on top of their computer table, especially if they donâ€™t use it that much. But did you know that printers can be vulnerable to hacking attacks?
There is a new study from Columbia University stating that the Internet connected devices, such as printers, can possible be a gateway for hackers to access your personal files and data, tap into secured networks and even cause fire by overheating hacked printers remotely.
The researchers of the said university created a study with HP LaserJet printers. Its Remote Fireware Update may possibly open the gates for hacking attacks. This feature checks software updates for printing jobs. At this point, hackers can possibly install customized firmware that gives them control of the printer.
According to the study, printers lack digital signature that that do not check the source of updates making them vulnerable to hacking attacks. Malicious firmware may cloak themselves as legitimate programs and â€˜foolâ€™ printers into using them. The sad thing is that it is almost impossible to remove this type of destructive firmware.
The threat is seen in old printer models that do not have signature technology. HP took this study seriously yet they disagree on the scale of its exposure and threat and said that the report was sensational and not accurate. To address this problem, HP is currently developing a firmware upgrade to avoid hacking threats through printers. Yet there is no clue as to when the firmware will be launched.