Hackers have taken control of printers around the world in a major cyber-attack, claiming to have the power to destroy the devices.

This is the latest in a series of such attacks which were first carried out last month, when one hacker claimed to have forced around 50,000 printers to create posters supporting his favourite YouTube vlogger, PewDiePie.

In their latest stunt, the hackers claim to have printed a message on over 100,000 printers – with people from countries including the UK, US, Argentina, Spain, Australia and Chile already posting pictures of the latest print-outs on social media.

The latest incident continues to urge support for the YouTuber but also advises victims to improve their security, providing contact details as a way to allow people to get in touch if they require further help to fix the exploited vulnerability.

Part of the document that was printed during the cyber-attacks.

One hacker, who claims to have been involved with these attacks, explained:

“We really want people to pay attention to this because causing physical damage is very much a possibility. The fallout goes beyond print-outs; we could also be capturing sensitive documents as they get printed or even modify documents as they get printed.” *

He explained that weaknesses in the printers’ firmware allowed them to continuously force data to be written to their chips. One security researcher who has studied the problem confirmed it was possible for hackers to destroy the machines via remote commands.

Believing their acts were justified, the hacker continued:

“While authorities might not see eye to eye with us, what we’re doing is much better than someone destroying printers and offices around the world in an attempt to hold printers ransom or something.” *

Xerox ConnectKey Technology – A Comprehensive Approach to Printer Security

Mark Harby, Solutions Specialist at Document Network Services, explained:

“These stunts show just how vulnerable some organisations can be to cyber-attack through the connected devices that fill the modern workplace. Vulnerabilities in network printers have been known about for years but many people are still unaware of the risks or overlook the implications these devices have on their existing network security infrastructure.”

Advising on how to avoid cyber-attacks, he continued:

“It’s important to carry out regular audits of connected devices and install the latest security patches as soon as they become available. If you don’t know how to do this yourself then it’s essential that you work with an individual or organisation that is able to do this for you.”

To find out how we could help to improve network security and keep your printers and photocopiers secure, contact us today on 0845 034 0895 or info@dnslimited.co.uk

* Source – BBC News