We’ve used a lot of the little Epson direct-to-CD printers (R200 series, then the RX-5 series, now the Artisans), and after a year with the R200s (which were great little things), we discovered they were ‘phoning home’ and getting some kind of driver-update behind our back.
That’s not so out-of-the-ordinary now, but five years ago, that was almost a ‘first of its kind’ behavior for printers. And of course Epson Utils didn’t have a “no auto-update” switch. So, we used our firewalls to disallow this.
Why? Because the drivers appeared to be receiving “Certified Ink” updates that would reject the Clone Ink Cartridges that the R200s could use - and use very well. Perfectly, in fact.
Until a driver-update suddenly started reporting a non-Epson cartridge and therefore, “Invalid ink cartridge”. Quite tricky.
We complained. Epson denied but driver-file access-dates were changed. When we invariably re-loaded Win from scratch, we started doing firewall-denials to Epson’s phone-homes, and all of those once “invalid cartridges” worked again, just fine. Were our accusations correct? We’ll never know for certain - but the cost of ink cartridges was chopped by 75%. And then Epson revealed those R-series printers had a lifespan fuse in them, and that fuse would blow at X-quantity printed, so for a mere $150 service and shipping, our R200s could still be used. Or buy a $99 RX-series instead. Du-uh. Hello, Landfill.
This was as nefarious an ability as we’ve seen, but no doubt others will have new schemes to hijack and ransom our computer services from us.