HP douses fiery printer hack theory

2011-12-01 12:51

San Francisco - Hewlett Packard is refuting a report that cyber attackers could break into LaserJet printers over the internet and make them overheat enough to catch fire.

"There has been sensational and inaccurate reporting regarding a potential security vulnerability with some HP LaserJet printers," the California-based company said in a memo available online on Wednesday.

"Speculation regarding potential for devices to catch fire due to a firmware change is false," the memo asserted.

While a security flaw did exist making it possible to hack into the software of printers connected to the internet without firewall defences, "thermal breakers" built into the hardware cuts power if devices overheat, HP said.

HP was working on a software upgrade to patch the vulnerability.

Word that hackers could set HP printers ablaze swept across the internet like wildfire after researchers at Columbia University were quoted as saying they found a way for cyber-attackers to manipulate ink-drying components.