Hewlett-Packard Co., responding to a report that hackers could take control of laser printers and make them catch fire, said those concerns aren’t valid.
“No customer has reported unauthorized access,” the company said today in a statement. Hackers can’t circumvent the thermal breaker, which is set up to prevent overheating or combustion, by manipulating a printer’s so-called firmware, Hewlett-Packard said. “Speculation regarding potential for devices to catch fire due to a firmware change is false.”
The MSNBC.com news site, citing researchers at Columbia University, said some Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers were vulnerable to attack. It’s likely that hackers could seize control of the devices and make them catch fire or use them to penetrate otherwise-secure networks, MSNBC said.
Hewlett-Packard said today that some LaserJet printers have a “potential security vulnerability,” which it’s working to fix. Firmware refers to the fixed software functions in a device.
“HP is building a firmware upgrade to mitigate this issue and will be communicating this proactively to customers and partners who may be impacted,” the Palo Alto, California-based company said in the statement. “In the meantime, HP reiterates its recommendation to follow best practices for securing devices by placing printers behind a firewall and, where possible, disabling remote firmware upload on exposed printers.”
Hewlett-Packard shares rose 1.4 percent to $26.90 at the close today in New York. The shares have tumbled 36 percent this year, dragged down by sluggish sales and a failed turnaround effort by Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker. He was replaced as CEO by Meg Whitman in September.