HP laser printer hack raises concern, millions vulnerable (updated)

Rick

Posts: 4,512   +66
Researchers from Columbia University have demonstrated a security flaw found in, but perhaps not limited to, HP printers which can actually lead to fires. The exploit allows hackers to reprogram…

Read the whole story
 

Leeky

Posts: 3,357   +116
And there was me thinking I was alone in my abilities to make computer hardware combustible... :(
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,672   +2,011
As someone who has been in the photocopier business as a repair tech for thirty years, I can tell you this is a bunch of hog wash. In the late 70's, early 80's, it was NOT uncommon for paper to literally catch on fire, due to the nature of the "toaster oven" fuser units that these machines had. With the advent of heat & pressure fuser units, a "flash over" has disappeared. As for remotely setting the fusing temperature to a point where the paper could catch on fire, that is impossible also. There are several safeguards built into every heating circuit on copiers, printers etc.
1. A thermistor (temperature monitor) that monitors the surface temperature of the heating rollers.
2. A thermal fuse/breaker that senses the temperature of the rollers. It's a one shot device that, when the
temperature reaches an unsafe level (usually 20-25 degrees C above normal, will pop, and open the voltage
going to keep the heating elements active. It is connected on one side to the "mains" (AC), and the other
side to the heating element. If it is open, no current can flow, and the heater goes off.

So, if a person were to remotely change the temperature to somehow deactivate the heater thermistor to not
tell the CPU what the temperature was, and or the voltage applied to overheat the fuser were done, the fail
safe thermal fuse melts, disconnecting the circuit. Even if the machine were to overheat, the UL requires the
failure of the thermal fuse to fail, before the flashover point of the paper. Yes, the paper will brown, flake off,
but it is impossible with the machines built since the mid 80's to "catch on fire". The failures of machines
in the 70's to very early 80's made apparent the flaw, and Underwriters Lab, government etc made sure it can't happen again. From time to time, I will get a service call about "overheating" and have to continue to explain
that you could leave a piece of paper in the fuser, 24/7 and the only thing that will happen is the paper
will turn brown & smell.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,426   +4,906
Picture reminds of movie The Office - take your printer out, give it another hole to breathe through ;)
 

gwailo247

Posts: 2,006   +18
Leeky said:
And there was me thinking I was alone in my abilities to make computer hardware combustible... :(

Hahaha. I think if you ignite a non-HP printer you'll keep your crown.
 

Leeky

Posts: 3,357   +116
Hahaha. I think if you ignite a non-HP printer you'll keep your crown.

Sorry, but I'm not torching my new Epson BX320FW, I only just got it! :haha:

I do have a perfectly working Lexmark printer on the shelf looking miserable though.......
 

Mizzou

Posts: 783   +0
A bunch of college kids in computer lab try to ignite a printer and suddenly millions are at risk. Good thing we have Techspot to keep us abreast of these emerging threats :)
 

gwailo247

Posts: 2,006   +18
Leeky said:
Hahaha. I think if you ignite a non-HP printer you'll keep your crown.

Sorry, but I'm not torching my new Epson BX320FW, I only just got it! :haha:

I do have a perfectly working Lexmark printer on the shelf looking miserable though.......

I think a dot matrix printer making that horrible screeching noise while burning, its plaintive cries slowly fading as the flames get bigger, would be a great sight.
 
G

Guest

Imagine the danger to asses everywhere if it were to happen to copiers too. He farted while copying his *** on the glass and the whole machine just sploded!