Printers don’t get a lot of love, largely because they’re horrible, noisy devices that require ridiculously expensive ink cartridges and seem to take great pleasure in destroying your documents and refusing to work when you’re on a deadline. By reputation alone, you wouldn’t think there’d be much call for one as a gaming device.
That’s where you’d be wrong.
Michael Jordon, a security researcher, spent four months exploiting a security loophole to get a stock Canon Pixma printer to run the classic ‘90s shooter, Doom. Sure, the graphics are a little sketchy, but the game that pops up on the printer’s LCD display is still definitely Doom.
At the 44Con conference in London, Jordon said he spent months working on the hack to demonstrate a vulnerability in the web interface printer owners can use to check the device’s status.
“The web interface has no username or password on it,” he told the BBC.
Which wouldn’t be a problem…except you can update the printer’s firmware through that interface. And that pretty much means that with a little work, you can make the printer run whatever software you want—even ones that can steal information from the documents you’re printing.
Canon wrote in a blog post that it has put out a patch for the issue, and that all printers shipping in the future will come with username and password protection on the web interface.
As for Doom? Well, Jordon doesn’t have any plans to fix the graphics. He’s proved his point.
“I’m so sick of it,” he said. “I’m done.”