Updated 07/14/2021

Printer vulnerability leaves computers exposed

Researchers have disclosed to the public that there is a vulnerability in Windows related to printing. It is called PrintNightmare. It is well named as this vulnerability allows hackers to gain full control of your computer and your data without using a password. There is no patch for this. Hackers are currently taking advantage of this vulnerability and your computer is at high risk of being breached.The only way to secure your system and ensure that your computer is safe is to disable the print spooler service. 

Information Technology Services has done this for all workstations on campus, however you will have to do this yourself on your home machine. 

To disable the print spooler servce:

1. Press  Windows key + R on your keboard. The Run dialog box appears..
2. In Open field, enter services.msc.  
3. Click the OK button. The Services window opens.
4. Scroll down and locate the  Print Spooler service.
5. Double-click Print Spooler. The Properties dialog box appears.
services-window.jpg
6. Click the General tab.
7. In the Startup type field, click to see a drop down list.
8. Select Disabled.
properties.jpg
9. Under Service status, click the Stop button.  A status dialog box appears letting you know that Windows is shutting the service down.
Stop-button.jpg
10. Click the Apply button.
11. Click the OK button.You computer is now safe. However you will not be able to print to pdf or to a network or wireless printer. However, you will be able to print to a printer that is directly connected to your computer. 

 

Microsoft has released an update

On July 14, 2021 a Windows update was released that indluded a security patch for this vulnerability. Please restart your machine to install this update. Once the update has been installed you can enable the print spooler service again.


To enable the print spooler servce:

1. Press  Windows key + R on your keboard. The Run dialog box appears..
2. In Open field, enter services.msc.  
3. Click the OK button. The Services window opens.
4. Scroll down and locate the  Print Spooler service.
5. Double-click Print Spooler. The Properties dialog box appears.
6. Click the General tab.
7. In the Startup type field, click to see a drop down list.
8. Select Automatic.
9. Under Service status, click the Start button.  A status dialog box appears letting you know that Windows is enabling the service.
10. Click the Apply button.
11. Click the OK button. You can now print.