Getting your printer do something awesome doesn’t have to mean printing out some cool things. Security researcher, Michael Jordan, has managed to hack a Canon Pixma printer and get it to run the classic 90s video game Doom.
Most modern printers (including Canon’s Pixma range) can be connected to the internet so that owners can check the device and printer cartridge status. Jordon, who works for Context Information Security, found that this connection was not very secure and did not require a user name and password to access the web interface.
While this may not seem like a problem, Jordon found that through the web interface, you could access the firmware, the printer’s controlling software. And while the firmware is encrypted, some digging revealed that it was possible to crack through this protection to get at the core computer code.
Jordon then conceived the idea of getting the game running as ‘real proof you control the thing’. While it took him four months to get the game running on the printer, Jordan said he did it to highlight the security problems faced by devices that form the ‘internet of things’.
You can see a video of the printer running the game here.
While the colour palette is not quite right, the game runs quite quickly and it ‘proves the point’. Getting the printer to play Doom used up much of Jordan’s spare time and he has no plans to fine tune the game and optimise the colours past the loading screen.
Canon has stated that they intend to provide a fix for the error as well as making sure that future printers require a user name and password to log into the web interface.
While the vulnerability in the web interface is disturbing, the idea of being able to run classic games on your printer makes the printer nerds in us just a little bit excited.