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is it safe to put a usb flash drive into a printer

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  • Hewlett Packard
  • USB Flash
  • Printers
Last response: in Antivirus / Security / Privacy
April 13, 2015 12:44:37 PM

I got a new wifi-capable printer (HP Officejet Pro 6830), it also can print from a usb stick.

Is it safe to stick a flash drive into the printer, or does that put the printer at risk of malware infection? I have seen a lot of infected flash drives, but I don't know if they can damage a printer.

More about : safe put usb flash drive printer

April 13, 2015 12:51:33 PM

No, usb sticks cannot infect printers I an assure you of that!
Although if the stick is infected, the files may be corrupted or even worse, the usb would be corrupted
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a b α HP
April 13, 2015 1:17:04 PM

The only way a USB stick will infect a printer is if it pushes a firmware update with the malware inside, something that no printer will do just from having a drive attached. It would at least require you to take steps to load the firmware and run it, if it even accepts firmware through the front USB. (Most likely it would only accept firmware from a PC directly connected to the back USB that's almost certainly present for quickly configuring the wifi.)

Just sticking a USB in to print off a picture or your tax forms will not damage or infect your printer. Well, maybe damage the port if you try to force the USB stick in upside down.

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a b α HP
April 13, 2015 1:18:02 PM

I would disagree with that first statement. Printer firmware can indeed be infected with printer targeted spyware, or simply play host to malware that will infect USB attached devices to spread to other systems. If it has memory, that memory can be exploited in unexpected ways.

As long as it is your USB drive and your printer I would say you are fine though.

True 'printer viruses' are more targeted to business and office class printers, as they usually have a PC acting as a printer spooler and can run more complex things. A lot of these viruses are just prank style that just cause the printer to waste paper/ink/toner or just garble incoming files. Some funny ones change the text on built in displays. The scary ones will re-send the incoming files to a third party. Document centers with scanners might have their scans sent out as well.
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April 15, 2015 2:16:19 AM

Eximo said:
I would disagree with that first statement. Printer firmware can indeed be infected with printer targeted spyware, or simply play host to malware that will infect USB attached devices to spread to other systems. If it has memory, that memory can be exploited in unexpected ways.

As long as it is your USB drive and your printer I would say you are fine though.

True 'printer viruses' are more targeted to business and office class printers, as they usually have a PC acting as a printer spooler and can run more complex things. A lot of these viruses are just prank style that just cause the printer to waste paper/ink/toner or just garble incoming files. Some funny ones change the text on built in displays. The scary ones will re-send the incoming files to a third party. Document centers with scanners might have their scans sent out as well.


kids often bring me their flash drives, and want to print something.
their flash drives often are flagged by AV as being infected.
however, it sounds like the kind of malware that attacks printers is pretty specific, and is not so likely to be on the flash drive of an innocent child or teenager.who just exchanges music with friends, and stuff like that,.

may I assume that my printer's chances of infection are pretty minimal, in this scenario?
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a b α HP
April 15, 2015 6:24:19 AM

Probably worst case exposure plugging random USB drives in.
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