HP Addresses Security Concerns

Those of us who own an HP Laserjet printer might want to consider updating the machine’s firmware to avoid attacks from hackers.

Scare stories

At least, that’s the way it appears. Let’s be honest: Some of these stories that get into the mainstream media are sheer hysteria while others are insignificant issues blown out of proportion. Other, more troubling ones might be valid. What kind are we dealing with? You decide.

Here’s a link http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/29/9076395-exclusive-millions-of-printers-open-to-devastating-hack-attack-researchers-say to the MSNBC article in question. Based upon the work of researchers at Columbia University, it claims that millions of printers are exposed to malicious attacks from hackers all over the world. Criminals, according to the article, could take control of your printer and use it to steal your personal details, seize control of your company’s network or — in an even more farfetched-sounding scenario — send it so many instructions in such a brief period that it could burst into flames!

Playing it straight

It might be hard to take this last report seriously. HP, though, has taken the whole thing seriously enough to announce a firmware update for security concerns. Here is a link to it: http://www.hp.com/cgi-bin/hpsupport/index.pl. Be prepared to track the update down, based upon the model of your printer.

HP, so far at least, has not published any details so no one knows which printers are affected and what drivers might need updating.

About the author:

James has been a writer all his life. As a technical writer he pioneered online documentation and wrote end-user documentation for several computer manufacturers. His manuals have been praised in PCMagazine and Wired, among others. During a 14 year career in the U.S. navy (as a carrier jet aviator) James wrote a number of technical and classified publications. James has also written two novels and one stage play.

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