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Microsoft fixes PrintNightmare vulnerability but leaves it open to local attacks

Printer Spool vulnerability fixed
(Image credit: Pixabay - mohamed_hassan)
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Microsoft has gone out of its way this week to fix a vulnerability known as 'PrintNightmare'. First officially acknowledged by Microsoft on July 1, according to Complete I.T. Blog (opens in new tab), the vulnerability meant any instances where Microsoft Windows Print Spooler service was running, a PC would be left open to attackers, who could remotely execute malicious code at will.

The news of a fix to the vulnerability, filename CVE-2021-34527, came to our attention via @Msftsecresponse on Twitter:

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Printers are a relatively common target for hackers trying to take control of machines, and once they find themselves with system privileges, they can easily shuffle your data, delete or copy important files, even create new accounts with admin rights, along with countless other sneaky activities.

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With one of the only workarounds being the system admin manually disabling the Print Spooler service—unhelpful if you need to use it on a daily basis—it comes as a great relief that Microsoft has finally rolled out a patch.

But the patch isn't a full fix, leaving Print Spooler users open still to local attacks. As noted by Tijs Hofmans over at tweakers (opens in new tab), "It is still possible to perform a local privilege escalation. To prevent this, users can disable the Point&Print functionality."

You can find the Microsoft Windows Print Spooler security updates for here (opens in new tab), anyway. Just be aware of any dodgy looking, probably hood-wearing characters using your local network. That's what hackers look like, right?

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for two years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.