Printers manufactured by Samsung have a backdoor administrator account hard coded in their firmware that could enable attackers to change their configuration, read their network information or stored credentials and access sensitive information passed to them by users.
The hardcoded account does not require authentication and can be accessed over the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) interface of the affected printers, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) said Monday in a security advisory.
SNMP is an Internet protocol commonly used to monitor and read statistics from network-attached devices.
The SNMP account found in Samsung printers has full read and write permissions and remains accessible even if SNMP is disabled using the printer's management utility, US-CERT said.
"Secondary impacts include: the ability to make changes to the device configuration, access to sensitive information (e.g., device and network information, credentials, and information passed to the printer), and the ability to leverage further attacks through arbitrary code execution," the organisation said.
It's not just Samsung-branded printers that contain the administrative account, but also some Dell-branded printers manufactured by Samsung.
US-CERT did not provide a list with the exact printer models affected by the issue, but said that, according to Samsung, models released after 31 October 2012, are not vulnerable.
"Samsung has also indicated that they will be releasing a patch tool later this year to address vulnerable devices," US-CERT said.
Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
US-CERT recommended that users follow security best practices and restrict access to the printers. Allowing access to their SNMP interfaces only from trusted hosts or network segments will limit the ability of attackers to use the hardcoded credentials, the organisation said.
This is not the first time when serious vulnerabilities are found in printers. Last year, two Columbia University researchers discovered a weakness in the remote firmware update feature of HP LaserJet printers that could have allowed attackers to take complete control of the devices.