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Better safe than sorry

Following a statement by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center regarding new corporate network attacks, Kyocera has issued advice to help printers protect against these types of threats.

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Kyocera responds to hackings on corporate networks via office printers

In a blog post, the Microsoft named a Russian hacking group called Strontium, or ‘Fancy Bear’ as responsible for the attacks which happened earlier this year.

According to Kyocera, the security researchers identified a “known adversary” which was communicating to several external devices. Since then, further research discovered that more attempts had been made on Internet of Things (IoT) devices including office printers across multiple locations.

It is believed by Microsoft that the “bad actor” or hacker gained initial access to corporate networks either because the default manufacturer’s passwords were not changed, or the most up-to-date security update had not been applied.

Michele Mabilia, head of product marketing at Kyocera Document Solutions UK explains how the attack raised an issue of inadequate protection and preparation against threats such as these.

When it comes to printers, default settings are insufficient to prevent the growing number of threats to data and network security

“With the increasing influence of the cloud, IoT and other digital transformation technologies, businesses tend to focus on the opportunity these technologies represent,” Mabilia explains. “Instead, they should be making sure that every cloud-enabled, mobile and smart device – including their IP-connected print device – is protected against both malicious cyber-attack and accident data loss.”

This is not the first case of printers falling victim to cyber-attacks. Earlier this year, two YouTube fans hacked tens of thousands of vulnerable printers in a bid to generate more subscribers for their favourite channel.

However, following the harmless attack in which the teenagers simply exploited open ports, it was revealed that the number of vulnerable printers had almost halved.

Earlier this year, two YouTube fans hacked tens of thousands of printers

In terms of what printers can do to protect themselves against network attacks, Mabilia advises: “It goes without saying that setting a strong password and making sure you install the latest update for your security tools are the basics of cybersecurity. The best defences for a secure network are composed of multiple barriers.

“When it comes to printers, default settings are insufficient to prevent the growing number of threats to data and network security. However, there are solutions that make it quick and easy to identify and address vulnerabilities. They can identify open ports, alert the users of any unusual activity and generate diagnostic reports on demand.

“As the saying goes: ‘better to be safe than sorry’, so the earlier vulnerabilities are identified, the more chances you’ll have to mitigate threats.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn. 


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