By Hacker Joke, Printers Become Self-Employed

More than hundred thousand printer made in recent days for excitement with their owners: allegedly gave an expression with a QR code without order. The activities of the German hacker group, which is intended as a joke, but should at the same time identify vulnerabilities is caused.

By Hacker Joke, Printers Become Self-Employed

How Does the Joke of the Hacker?

The hacker sent the affected printers a digital postcard, which triggered at the same time the print job. In about half of the recipients, the print job was also carried out. The result was an expression with a QR code. These codes can scan using the camera of smartphones and ensure the call to a dedicated website of the hackers force. Where imagines a grinning cartoon as “Printer troll”, exploited the affected printer is globally accessible.


Existing technologies were used for this joke, was published under the name “Internet census 2012” by other hackers. These are technology that serves to the surveying of the World Wide Web with the help of IP addresses. This printer could be found that establish a connection to the Internet without the use of routers. Then the hackers looked after the port 910, used according to current standards for the transmission of print jobs. He was open, the pressure for the QR code was commissioned.

Mainly the printer by public institutions and universities, which have a large number of publicly available IP addresses were affected. The feedback of the printer in combination with the IP addresses, the hacker could closely where the print job is actually executed. Many successes were achieved in some countries. This included also the United States and Germany in addition to the United Kingdom, South Korea and Taiwan.

What Are the Hacker Group the Objectives of with the “Printer Troll”?

Was the hackers in this case once not, a larger damage. You left it in a single page, which moreover took place as an expression of the s/w. The objective of the action is the affected printer owners to make that your printer has serious vulnerabilities. With the digital postcard, also no virus has been transferred to the printer or the PC. But the success of the “printer trolls” shows how easy it would be to infect a computer or a printer with a malicious software firmware this way. Therefore, the hacker to have decided to repeat this action.

How the Affected Users Responded to the Joke of the Hacker?

On the website of the hacker group, a function was established with the affected printer owners can leave comments. The reactions were very different. Some users also outraged is that this paper and toner or ink cartridges has been squandered. In other comments, printer owner thanked for this well-meant note on existing vulnerabilities. Also some hearty insults had to endure the originators of the “printer trolls” about themselves. Some stakeholders recognized rightly that it is the task of the system administrators to ensure the security in the local networks and communicate with the Internet. The “printer troll” sent out by the German hackers is a warning, packaged as a joke, the owner of the printer should take seriously. The next hacker could use exactly these vulnerabilities to cause greater damage, throws a print job for several hundred pages or insert a virus through this open port which could spread throughout the network.