Black-hat hackers don’t need your computer to hack your personal or professional system anymore; instead many cyber thieves are using your wireless printer to gain access to all of your files.
This subject, along with a presentation from Aon Cyber Risk Insurance, brought this very real fear to the forefront of a Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at Hewlett-Packard May 19.
Kris Grano said HP knows that having a cyber-security budget for many small businesses is tough.
“Cyber challenges are hitting many businesses when we have fewer and fewer resources, and it really puts many of us in a bind,” Grano said. “We are currently working on some holistic ways of securing your business without a huge cost.”
Grano said printer maintenance has moved beyond just putting paper and toner in it for it to run properly.
“HP is currently securing the actual data as it’s transferred from the computer to the printer,” Grano said. “We are actually taking steps to prevent people from hacking the printer itself.”
Grano explained that many new printers have the same technology as the personal computers of yesteryear.
“They are running on OS, which is basically a Windows kernel and they are connected to the network,” Grano said. “There is no difference between these printers and anyone’s PC.”
Grano said HP is building security systems from the ground up in their printers to prevent any outside malware to enter the device, keeping the system secure.
“The weakest link in any computer operating system is the user, plain and simple,” Grano said.
In the case that a user is hacked or has information stolen from them, Kim Brazell, with Aon Cyber Risk Insurance, said if an email doesn’t look right or seems weird don’t open it.
“We see these headlines everyday … some organization or company has been hacked,” Brazell said. “We have a way to mitigate and manage the risk to keep your information safe.”
Brazell said that many small businesses use an outside source or a cloud to help manage their data at an affordable rate, but this type of service has exposures that owners need to be aware of.
Rogue or disgruntled employees may be the cause of leaking and/or abusing company information, she said.
Internet-based hackers utilizing ransom wear, like the “Wanna Cry” virus, she said, which costs $50 to get rid of, or a 300 Bitcoin. (Bitcoin is an Internet-based type of currency that fluctuates in value on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis).
Interruptions to systems and networks resulting in income can have a major effect on an Internet-based business or financial software.
“The legal community does try to enforce penalties and consequences to those who are caught,” Brazell said. “The problem is that these hackers are so good, finding them is extremely difficult.”
Brazell said the irony is if the hacker is talented enough, the FBI will recruit them once they are caught.