Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/Reddit
Some hacker out there is really taking that whole “Great Resignation” thing pretty seriously. According to a new report from Motherboard, “dozens” of companies’ receipt printers are getting spammed with “anti-work” screeds—the likes of which are encouraging employees to tell their bosses to take a hike.
Over the past few days, a slew of pictures have been posted to Reddit appearing to show lengthy receipts inscribed with the same pro-labor, anti-capitalist rhetoric. Many of them make reference to r/antiwork, the increasingly popular “anti-work” subreddit, and encourage workers to stand up to their employers over wages and benefits.
“TIME IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET,” says one receipt, before encouraging employees to force their bosses to fire them—ostensibly so they can go on employment and enjoy time with their friends and family. “ARE YOU BEING UNDERPAID?,” asks another. “Begin ORGANIZING A UNION,” one appears to exhort.
Some receipts also reference “25 or walk”—what appears to be an activist movement focused on raising the minimum wage for fast food workers. A number of posts on r/antiwork reference to the movement and its goal of raising workers’ standard of living.
While this certainly seems like a social media joke, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai of Motherboard spoke with a cybersecurity expert who said that they’d seen fairly good evidence that the receipts are real.
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“Someone is using a similar technique as ‘mass scanning’ to massively blast raw TCP data directly to printer services across the internet,” said Andrew Morris, the founder of cybersecurity firm GreyNoise. Morris further clarified that someone was “broadcasting print requests for a document containing workers rights messaging to all printers that are misconfigured to be exposed to the internet and we’ve confirmed that it is printing successfully in some number of places.”
In layman’s terms, printers exposed to the web are getting targeted by someone with these print requests, according to Morris.
He further added that “the exact number [of printed receipts] would be difficult to confirm,” though he’d seen evidence that “thousands of printers are exposed” in a way that would make them vulnerable to the requests.
Pretty wild. Whether the whole thing is the work of a pro-labor hacktivist or is actually just some intelligence agency fucking with the fast food chains of the world, it’s at the very least a thought-provoking exercise. Viva la revolución.