Researchers at Context Information Security have successfully managed to remotely access the web interface on a Canon Pixma printer and modify firmware from the Internet to run the classic 90s computer game Doom.
The researchers were also able to use up ink by printing out hundreds of copies and with more sinister implications, could easily have updated the printer with a Trojan image to spy on documents being printed and establish a gateway into the printer’s network.
The techniques used to compromise the printer were presented at 44Con in London this morning by Mike Jordon, head of research at Context and a full detailed blog along with a video, which can be seen at: http://www.contextis.co.uk/resources/blog/hacking-canon-pixma-printers-doomed-encryption/
The Context team has also hacked into other so-called Internet of Things (IoT) products – including a smart light bulb, IP camera, network attached storage (NAS) device and even a child’s internet rabbit toy – raising more concerns about IoT security.
“This latest example further demonstrates the insecurities posed by the emerging Internet of Things as vendors rush to connect their devices,” said Context’s Mike Jordon. “The printer’s web interface did not require user authentication, allowing anyone to connect to it. But the real issue is with the firmware update process.
“If you can trigger a firmware update you can also change the web proxy settings and the DNS server; and if you can change these then you can redirect where the printer goes to check for a new firmware update and install custom code – in our case a copy of Doom.”
Context sampled 9,000 of the 32,000 IPs that the web site Shodan (http://www.shodanhq.com) indicated may have a vulnerable printer. Out of these IPs, 1,822 responded and 122 indicated that they may have a firmware version that could be compromised, around 6%.
“Even if the printer is not connected directly to the Internet behind a NAT on a user’s home network or on an office intranet, for example, it is still vulnerable to remote attack,” added Jordon.
Context contacted Canon in March of this year and provided them with the information about this issue. Canon has provided the following statement published in the Context blog:
“We thank Context for bringing this issue to our attention; we take any potential security vulnerability very seriously. At Canon we work hard at securing all of our products, however with diverse and ever-changing security threats we welcome input from others to ensure our customers are as well protected as possible. We intend to provide a fix as quickly as is feasible.
“All PIXMA products launching from now onwards will have a username/password added to the PIXMA web interface, and models launched from the second half of 2013 onwards will also receive this update, models launched prior to this time are unaffected. This action will resolve the issue uncovered by Context.”
Context recommends that wireless printers or any other Internet of Things devices are not connected to the Internet. “We are not aware of anyone actively using this type of attack for malicious purposes but hopefully by raising awareness, we can encourage vendors to increase the security of this new generation of devices,” said Jordon. “And of course it is important to always apply the latest available firmware.”