Is my Copier Safe from being Hacked?

Make sure Your Copier is safe from a Hack

Is your copier safe, well, in a nut shell, a multi-function device and computer are practically the same thing. The only real difference, simply one has a paper input and output feature, and the other does not. They all have display panels, touchscreens, storage drive, memory, keyboards, analog/digital lines, and notably they support the same network protocols for our daily connectivity. Let’s face it, a printer is no longer a printer, and a watch is no longer just a watch. In today’s world we see this rapidly changing ways the process in which data and content is generated. Networks, Devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are more connected than ever before. And these 2 scary hacks below involving printers tell a horrifying tale as to how connected we really are.

Many security experts reading this remember the March 2016 incident, where Andrew Auernheimer, a.k.a.. “Weev”, who is a hacker-sends-anti-semitic-fliers-to-network-printers-at-princeton-many-other-colleges. Imagine all the repercussions the colleges faced administratively while the fear onlookers were submerged in. Imagine innocent bystanders and members of an education system unwillingly becoming part of hate crime in the click of one button. Prior to this incident, the Weev hacked over 114,000 AT&T iPad user’s personal data back in 2010. It’s very said when you think about it, why would you hack a printer or database for any reason. Then again, why does someone do graffiti? Well, I guess maybe just because they can... But where does it stop?

Each year the attacks become more sophisticated and larger scale breaches are pursued. How and why does a criminal decide they want to take over a printer? Well, who recalls late in 2018 when notorious YoutTube sensation PewDiePie was in an ongoing battle to lead the internet in subscriptions? In an effort to boost subscriptions and outperform his competition, PewDiePie launched a newly, never heard of campaign, where 50,000 printers worldwide, were hacked and printed out pages Urging people to subscribe to PewDiePie's channel instead of their competitor’s channel. Like really, how does a criminal think someone would subscribe and support their channel after he hacks their printer? And what’s very scary about this event in particular, reports have it One of them was even a receipt printer at a police station, which probably raised a few eyebrows. How can a Police Department printer be hacked? It was said that there were more than 800,000 devices were accessible on the IoT during the PewDiePie breach. All it takes is one misconfiguration and there you are, the printer is accessible on the internet. Many of us still wonder why would the hacker stop at 50,000? Or did they? Are you on the list and how long ago was that?

If you’re currently thinking about your printer or staring at your watch, well then watch this footage of The Wolf Starring Christian Slater | HP Studios a high overview of what the anatomy of an attack is like. In and intense short clip Mr. Slater says “I know it’s mouthful but it’s actually really simple” makes you wonder how simple it really is to hack a printer. As we search the internet for how simple could it possibly be, we stumbled up on an entire wiki page dedicated for your printer. It’s called, have you heard about it? You can learn much about security for your printer and what threats are posed to your device there such as DoS attacks, privilege escalation, print job access, information disclosure, and you can even learn about code execution too.

At the end of the day professionals have seen cyber attacks on the rise across all vectors. Whether it’s a 3-year-old copier in a dental office or a LinkedIn account similar to the 700 million users who fell victim to breach in June 2021, to a hacker, any intellectual data can and does serve a purpose. If your data is important and you see the events that we have seen in the news, now more than ever is a time to start a asking yourself this, is my copier safe from being hacked?


Written By: Franklin Dube

Posted on: 9/21/21