Universities reporting hate fliers coming from hacked printers

Northeastern University said their IT experts resolved the issue quickly, but students are puzzled that it happened at all.

It appears the source is Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer, who was previously prosecuted for harvesting thousands of email and authentication IDS from Apple iPad users on AT&T networks, according to HelpNetSecurity.

Auernheimer described accessing thousands of "public domain" printers, through port 9100, and feeding a simple script to them in order to get the anti-Semitic flier print out in a post on Storify. He also tweeted about it.

UMass Amherst describes the content as racist, anti-Semitic and hate-filled. Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said the university is investigating.

"We condemn this cowardly and hateful act," Subbaswamy said in a release. "This despicable incident reminds us that we must not be complacent as we continue to strive for a society that embraces diversity, inclusion and equity- a society where everyone feels safe and welcome."

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But how do such prominent institutions become the victims of hackers?

"Anything that has an IP address can be accessed and if there are vulnerabilities in that device then, yes in fact, it can be hacked,” said Robert Siciliano, a security expert from Hotspot Shield.

That includes wireless printers and that means if anyone, from anywhere can get past the device's firewall, they can have unlimited access to the system.

Auernheimer did not target any particular university. He sent the script to any available publicly accessible printer.

Schools across the country are also reporting similar fliers -- New Jersey's Princeton University, Yale, Rhode Island's Brown University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

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