Connected Printer Stunt Sends Cybersecurity Warning to Universities

Universities that left their printers unsecured on the Internet were surprised by anti-Semitic fliers that were remotely printed by a hacker.

by News Staff / March 31, 2016 0
Government Technology

Internet-connected printers may not be at the top of IT leaders' list to secure, but they can be exploited.

This month, a notorious hacker conducted an experiment that involved searching online for printers on public networks and having them automatically print a flyer with anti-Semitic information. The hacker claimed to have accessed more than 20,000 printers, many of which were at colleges and universities, Motherboard reported. He didn't have to hack the printers or search hard to find them; they were hosted on the public Internet, which left them open to receiving print jobs from anyone through port 9100, reported Inside Higher Ed

While printing fliers is relatively harmless, it can stall university network speeds if it's done at scale. These devices could also be used to find email information and infect a network with malware, Inside Higher Ed reported. This incident gives IT leaders a reason to consider removing university printers from the public Internet.