For more than two decades, Microsoft Windows has provided the means for clever attackers to surreptitiously install malware of their choice on computers that connect to booby-trapped printers, or other devices masquerading as printers, on a local area network. Microsoft finally addressed the bug on Tuesday during its monthly patch cycle.
The vulnerability resides in the Windows Print Spooler, which manages the process of connecting to available printers and printing documents. A protocol known as Point-and-Print allows people who are connecting to a network-hosted printer for the first time to automatically download the necessary driver immediately before using it. It works by storing a shared driver on the printer or print server and eliminates the hassle of the user having to manually download and install it. [Read more…]