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Printer Security: Is Your Printer a Security Risk?

Whenever a new technology is created, hackers will find a way to crack it. We’ve seen some seriously creepy methods over the last few years, including hackers gaining access to speakers on kids toys, allowing them to play their own audio through them, as well as a multitude of other toy vulnerabilities. We’ve even seen drones that are able to hover outside a window and hack in to a system just by reading a flickering LED light on a PC.

Everything from our phones to our toasters are wi-fi capable these days. With so many devices to secure, it’s easy to forget that sometimes oldest tricks – like spam email for example – are often the most effective. Just look at the US Election Wikileaks from last year. Droves of sensitive communications released to the general public, using a simple phishing scam email.

You don’t have to be a VIP for it to happen to you. Just last month I wrote a blog post about the time my blog was hacked and defaced. How was I hacked? I’d been without internet for a month due to moving home. In that time I’d missed an essential WordPress update. Having my blog run on vulnerable outdated software meant they could easily inject a ton of spammy links in to my old blog posts. Moral of this story: Never miss an update.

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Printer Security

To raise awareness and promote their new range of secure printers, HP has released a series of short films called The Wolf, starring Christian Slater. Slater plays a hacker who walks us through his plans to hack entire office networks using simple methods that have dire consequences.

He shows us how easily he can access an entire office network. Simply by convincing an employee to open an email attachment that contains malware – something most of us are aware is a big no-no – but what I didn’t know is that if network isn’t properly secured, malware is able to bypass a firewall and using an unsecured printer stream he’s able to infect every PC and printer on the network. From there, a hacker can steal any information they need.

The film states that less than 2% of printers in the world are secure. This has got me thinking about my own printer security. It’s a not something I’d been concerned about until watching the series.

Be sure to have a look at the series below. It’s around 7 minutes long in total and is very well produced as well as being informative, if not a tad spooky…

 

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  • Fortunately, I don’t have a printer so haven’t got any worries!