A hacker who goes by the name of Stackoverflowin has hijacked hundreds of thousands of printers in the past few days.
The hack has affected an estimated 150,000 printers made by different companies including Canon, Brother, Hewlett-Packard, and Epson. Other brands which reportedly fell victim to the self-proclaimed "god of hackers" include Oki, Afico, Lexmark, Konica Minolta and Samsung.
The hacked printers suddenly became operational without being prompted, leaving some surprised owners to discover a note printed on a piece of paper. But before any fears of a ghost printer came about, the mystery print job explained that "stackoverflowin has returned to his glory, your printer is part of a flaming botnet, the hacker god has returned from the dead". The note ends with a statement in all caps saying, "your printer has been owned" followed by an image of a robot.
Another message said that the printer is part of a flaming botnet that is "operating on Putin's forehead utilizing BTI's (break the internet) complex infrastructure". Other victims reported receiving a note which said, "stackoverflowin has returned to glory, your printer is part of a botnet, the god has returned, everyone likes a meme, fix your bullsh*t".
Network World suggests that victims of the hack should immediately close the port 9100 on their routers which is highly likely the reason how the hacker was able to connect to the devices. Owners should then add an admin password to their printers. Bleeping Computer got hold of the hacker who explained that his script targeted those with Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) ports and Line Printer Daemon (LPD) ports along with port 9100.
Stackoverflowin claimed that his actions were made in good fun and stressed that there was no botnet to start with. He also said that he was doing all these to help people keep their devices secure from further hacking. However, there are conflicting reports on whether Stackoverflowin is an ethical hacker or not. One of the victims claimed that the hacker is asking for an amount in BitCoins to reverse the hack. Another indicated possibility of copycats trying to cash in on the hack. Others say that a group of hackers is behind the incident.
Cyber security has taken huge hits lately with Yahoo falling to hackers on two separate occasions. Also late last year, the San Francisco Muni was hijacked by a hacker while a luxury hotel in Austria was also hijacked recently. Initial reports said that guests were locked in their rooms until the hotel paid ransom in the form of BitCoins. Turns out, the keycards and computers of the hotel were indeed hacked but no guests were locked in.