[unisog] HP JetDirect guessing game

Michael Holstein michael.holstein at csuohio.edu
Fri Mar 13 17:42:49 GMT 2009

As a corollary to Murphy's law, it seems that "No device will fail to 
malfunction in the presence of a technician".

Such is my current dilemma .. we have a few hundred HP JetDirect devices 
scattered around campus, all of which are attached to print servers of 
some sort (but are otherwise un-firewalled, meaning one could print 
directly by configuring IP printing of some flavor).

What we're getting is otherwise blank pages, containing only the date 
(MM/DD/YYYY) in the top-left corner.

This can be replicated by doing (from *nix) .. "date +%m/%d/%Y |nc 
x.x.x.x 9100"

Being as HP's built-in tools have no page log that contains useful info 
like which IP a job came from, I resorted to the brute-force "hub and a 
laptop" approach .. upon which the problem promptly stopped .. all 
across campus.

I've checked a bunch of other points in the network (firewalled devices, 
linux boxes, etc.) to see if there's any sort of scan that's hitting 
everything (Nessus, for example, will do this if "safe checks" is 
disabled .. but it spews tons of junk) and I don't see any evidence of it.

So my question to you fine folks is this .. "is there any tool 
(network/security/scan/etc) you're aware of that causes a printer to 
emit a otherwise blank page containing only the date?".


Michael Holstein
Cleveland State University

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