You remember when HP tricked its users into downgrading their printers by sending them a fake “security update” that actually made the printers refuse third-party and refilled ink cartridges?
Well, now it’s Epson’s turn.
The company’s fake software update screwed over owners of many printer models, deceptively reconfiguring their printers so that they could no longer use third-party ink.
This violates all kinds of state laws, including the laws of Texas, where an Electronic Frontier Foundation supporter lives; when he tipped us off about the Epson scam, we complained to the Texas Attorney General on his behalf.
If you got shafted by Epson and you’re in the USA, we want to hear from you, too.
With these shenanigans, Epson and HP aren’t just engaged in a garden-variety ripoff. Teaching Internet users to mistrust software updates is a dangerous business. In recent years, some of the Internet’s most important services have been brought to their knees by malicious software running on compromised home devices. Compromises to your home devices don’t just endanger the public Internet, either: once your printer is infected, it can be turned against you, used to steal data from the documents you print, to probe the devices on your local network, and to attack those devices and send the data stolen from them to a criminal’s computer.
It’s bad enough that Epson and HP have pursued their profits through these deceptive and illegitimate means, but what’s even worse is that in so doing, they have actively poisoned the cybersecurity well. That’s why their misconduct is all of our concern.
EFF To Texas AG: Epson Tricked Its Customers With a Dangerous Fake Update
[Cory Doctorow/EFF Deeplinks]