Thousands of office printers in many parts of the world have been spewing out page after page of gibberish because of a computer virus that commands printers to print 'garbage characters' until they run out of paper.
Reports from companies reveal that thousands of pages of paper were wasted when the Windows virus hit their PCs.
Security firms said the worst hit were large businesses in the US, India, Europe, and South America. Computer security firm Symantec, which sells the popular Norton anti-virus programme, confirmed this spread in an analytic blog.
The culprit is a malicious Trojan called Milicenso, which was first identified in 2010 and has since been re-used many times by hi-tech crime groups because it was a "malware delivery vehicle for hire".
Its most recent incarnation was as a tool for distributing French language adware. Symantec said Milicenso could infect a PC by various routes, such as an email attachment, via a compromised website or by posing as a fake video decoder.
Once installed, the virus polls a location on the net and re-directs web traffic so it serves up adverts.
Symantec said one side effect of infection was to generate a file in a PC's printer queue. This turns the contents of the files in the virus's main directory into print jobs.