Snippet: HP CEO Evokes James Bond-Style Hack Via Ink Cartridges ☇

Shared on January 26, 2024

Scharon Harding for Ars Technica:

Last Thursday, HP CEO Enrique Lores addressed the company’s controversial practice of bricking printers when users load them with third-party ink. Speaking to CNBC Television, he said, “We have seen that you can embed viruses in the cartridges. Through the cartridge, [the virus can] go to the printer, [and then] from the printer, go to the network.” […]

HP acknowledges that there’s no evidence of such a hack occurring in the wild. Still, because chips used in third-party ink cartridges are reprogrammable (their “code can be modified via a resetting tool right in the field,” according to Actionable Intelligence), they’re less secure, the company says. The chips are said to be programmable so that they can still work in printers after firmware updates.

If this is such an insecure model in theory, why not design printers that the consumable component doesn’t have any circuitry? Countless laser, inkjet, and dot matrix printers have been made over the years with “dumb” ink.

But HP’s ambitions don’t end there. It envisions a world where all of its printer customers also subscribe to an HP program offering ink and other printer-related services. “Our long-term objective is to make printing a subscription. This is really what we have been driving,” Lores said.

Oh, that’s why.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.