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Cyber crooks can attack enterprises via unsecure printers: HP

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Cyber criminals could plan attacks on enterprise networks through devices like printers, that are often left unsecured by companies, technology giant HP today said.

Printers are usually part of a company's communication networks but are often left out of the security framework as CIOs see PCs and servers are more vulnerable targets for attacks by cybercriminals.

"However, a non-secure multi-function printer can fall prey to hackers and help them break into an organisation's network to steal confidential information," HP Senior Director (Printing Systems) Raj Kumar Rishi told reporters here.

He added that devices like printers are often the "low hanging fruit" that helps cybercriminals, while companies are busy protecting PCs and servers.

He asserted that there is a need to include printer security as part of the government's policy guidelines and recognise them as a vital network end point.

Rishi said there have been instances in of attacks through printers in the banking and financial services sector but declined to disclose details.

According to reports, the number of attacks on enterprises have gone up significantly with the average cost of a data breach hovering around USD 7.7 million.

Earlier this year, about 1.5 lakh internet-connected printers were attacked and they churned out bizarre pictures of computers and giant robots. As per reports, the hack was performed by a secondary school student in Britain.

Rishi explained that printers are now a part of the network and can be accessed remotely to give print commands.

"This makes them as vulnerable as a PC or a server is," he added.

As per a study done by HP, 97 per cent respondents expressed concerns about attacks through PCs, 77 per cent each for servers and mobile devices.

About eight per cent said they were concerned about printers being used as an entry point.

"We at HP are focusing on developing products and technology to secure printers and prevent outside networks from hacking networks using these lesser used ports," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 18 2017. 20:43 IST