It Runs DOOM #4

  • June 16, 2019
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  • By: Joe Rybicki

“But can it run DOOM?” is the techie’s go-to joke for just about any piece of hardware with a screen – and for good reason.

The original DOOM’s software was so ubiquitous at height of its popularity during the shareware era that fans took it upon themselves to get it running on as many devices as possible – no matter how ridiculous.

As a result, the game has been ported, emulated or imitated on countless devices thanks to skilled programmers with a little know-how and some elbow grease. They may not all be the most optimized rigs for playing shooters, but these fun feats in engineering deserve a shout-out because, well, they run DOOM.

On a Printer

In the era of the Internet of Things, printers that connect to your computer or wireless network are commonplace. With the convenience of managing your print settings via a web browser, however, come new concerns: what could happen if someone else got this kind of fundamental access to your devices?

Security researcher Michael Jordon thinks about this sort of thing a lot. Working for Context Information Security in London, part of his job is to brainstorm such scenarios, predict what kind of damage might be done and then figure out a way to prevent it.

In 2014, he discovered that certain models of Canon’s Pixma printers allowed virtually unrestricted access to anyone with the right URL. That vulnerability included access to the machine’s firmware – and with access to the firmware, it became possible for Jordon (or perhaps less savory characters) to reverse-engineer it and place in firmware of their own.

But what kind of program best sends the message that these printers are a potential security risk? The answer was as clear as the device’s lovely color screen. “Running DOOM,” he told the BBC, “that’s real proof you control the thing.”

Canon has since updated their web interface to require a username and password. And who says the UAC doesn’t care about care about security in the workplace?