Printer manufacturer HP has pointed out a critical security vulnerability in the firmware of several of its printer models. It allows attackers to infiltrate the printer with code.
By executing malicious code, attackers could cause a range of damage via a printer, from simply disrupting the printer, tapping data flowing through the printer or infiltrating a corporate network.
Not another security flaw in HP printers is what some of you may be thinking!
That’s right! Not even a year ago came a similar announcement about HP printers. However, you must bear in mind that modern printers are complex systems and therefore like PCs.
If you compare how often PCs and their software are updated, printers are not that bad in terms of security. And hardly anyone wants to go back to too-simple systems. That would be like choosing a Nokia cell phone from the 1990s over a modern smartphone.
According to the report, many inkjets are affected (Deskjets, Envy, Officejets, etc.), in addition to various LaserJet Pro and PageWide Pro models. In total, well over fifty models are affected. HP has listed the exact models in their support section under the corresponding CVE entries:
Details about the problems, however, are not really to be found there. It only states that a potential buffer overflow could cause unwanted code to run.
But how this buffer overflow could be caused, and how then the code gets to the printer is not revealed. However, you must keep in mind that detailed information could provoke attacks.
The good news is that HP provided a firmware update which seems to fix the issue. If you can’t or don’t want to use that, it’s unfortunately difficult to recommend how else you could protect yourself in this case.
After all, it is unfortunately not clear how exactly the problem is triggered. But since the risk is at least to execute malicious code on the printer, you could prevent the code from being transferred to the printer in the first place by taking appropriate protective measures.
To do this, you would have to protect the possible interfaces, such as the network connection or the USB port, etc., accordingly. We have already shown how to do this, for example, in our webinar on printer security.
However, because the exact details here are unclear, you should seriously consider the firmware update.
More information on increase the security in your printing environment: