According to Symantec researchers, malware called Trojan.Milicenso has spent the past few weeks causing network printers worldwide to print nonsense characters until the printers run out of paper.

"The Sans Institute two weeks ago raised concerns about a potential 'print bomb' doing the rounds, noting several reports of an executable file causing unusual print outs," writes CSO Online's Liam Tung. "On Thursday Symantec cleared up questions over its cause, explaining it appears to be an unintended side effect of malware that was just trying to remain obscured."

"Our telemetry data has shown the worst hit regions were the US and India followed by regions in Europe and South America," Symantec researchers state in a blog post. "We originally encountered Trojan.Milicenso in 2010 and our initial investigation had shown that this was basically a malware delivery vehicle for hire. The payload that is most commonly associated with this latest version is Adware.Eorezo; an adware targeting French speaking users."

As Ars Technica's Dan Goodin notes, a McAfee Communities discussion is currently focused on the issue, with Kimberly-Clark's Gregory Smith noting that at his company, "The impact is global and effecting approximately 80 print servers. The print job names were all 15 characters in length and unique. The print jobs were all garbage print, as if it was opening the .exe and printing the garbage text. Our virus vendor has stated several other customers are experiencing this same issue, but no resolution has been identified as of yet."