Whenever the software is updated, security experts are usually fast enough to detect defects that could lead to malware infections, with the help of various error rewards and the like. However, some potential failures are filtered through the network for days, weeks, months, years and very rarely decades. Vectra Networks has found one of those flaws dating back about 20 years .
The problem comes from Windows Print Spooler, part of the operating system software that (as the name suggests) handles the printing process. The problem is that the spooler doesn’t bother to check if a printer’s drivers are legitimate when a printer is connected, which means that malicious guys may slip their own ugly drivers into the computer without raising flags in Windows. Not only that, but it can infect any computer on the network and can continue to infect machines as it detects an insecure printer.
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Microsoft was very fast in
take a door patch , so as long as you’re using Windows Vista or later, this old error may eventually be stopped. The only weak point is probably Windows XP, which still uses about 10% of computers , Y many in the public sector . Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, which means that many of the newly discovered threats are not updated on the venerable old operating system.
When it comes to threats, this is quite limited, because you need an attacker to connect a printer to the network, which is difficult to do secretly, but warned in advance.