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How Hackers Can Set Fire to Your Printer

In case your printer isn’t making you crazy enough with paper jams, ink smears, and general issues, here’s something new: Hackers can also access printers through an overlooked flaw in many printer systems connected to the Internet, particularly older models. Why should you care? Because hackers can use your printer as a way to infiltrate your network, then see and make copies of any documents you are printing or scanning. The security flaw involves the printer’s software used to run embedded systems,” which enable both advanced functions and connect the printer directly to the Internet. In one case, researchers were able to hack into a printer and give it instructions to continuously heat up the part of the device that dries the ink after it’s applied to the paper, causing the paper to heat up, turn brown, and smoke. The implications of this type of security flaw are concerning, but this problem can be addressed properly and promptly with correct planning. Of course, all of the clients on our Managed Services Plan need not worry since we’re monitoring printers as well as all other devices for these types of attacks. But if you’re NOT on our plan, call us about how we can set up network monitoring, care, and maintenance to make sure these types of attacks don’t happen.

Extra Tip: When disposing of old printers, take care to erase the internal hard drive. Printers store copies of documents printed and scanned; if you don’t wipe them clean, the person who purchases or inherits your old printer can easily access all of those documents.

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