Hackers Use Drones to Steal Wireless Print Jobs

8. October 2015 10:26 by Steve Leigh in Technology News  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (0)

Wifi in the Sky

Researchers in Singapore recently proved that unsecured wireless data isn't safe - even if it's 30 stories in the air. The "hackers" attached a smart phone loaded with two different apps they designed to a drone. The first detects open wifi printers and alerts organizations that their device is open to attack. The second app actually intercepts the data being sent to the printer. The project was designed by students Jinghui Toh and Hatib Muhammad in part of a government-sponsored effort to defend against cyber attacks. 

The students were supervised by Yuval Elovici, head of iTrust, a cybersecurity research center at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. "The main point [of the research] was to develop a mechanism to try to patrol the perimeter of the organization and find open printers from outside the organization," Elovici says. "It’s dramatically cheaper than a conventional pen test."

A drone hovering outside your office window would be hard to miss, but a typical printer's signals are transmitted 30 meters. Combine this with the hacker controlling the drone from a half mile away, or an autonomous drone flying itself, and the thief is hard to track down. In the video above, researchers even attached a phone to a robot vacuum cleaner and left it to clean up data as it moved its way around the building.

You can read the rest of the details of this study on Wired.

Protect Your Printer

The biggest takeaway from this research is that no network is safe, whether it's your home wifi or the office printer network. If you don't have a dedicated IT professional or tech-savvy friend, here is some information from HP on the different types of networks and how to protect them. Tips include working behind a firewall, creating a network just for guests, and securing your printer account.

Take a few minutes to secure your networks now. It could save you a lot of time and hassle in the future!

 

Kickstarter Feature: Wireless Printing Solution

As we've become increasingly connected to mobile devices, we also expect our printers to do the same. Often times, however, the wireless settings on our printers are a bit confusing, or if you have an older printer, non-existent. This makes it difficult to print from your iPad, iPhone or laptop without installing a driver. Thanks to a new Kickstarter for printWiFi, any device will now be able to print documents with ease.

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The SMART Future for Samsung Printers

After the big news that Home Depot would start selling 3D printers in certain stories nationwide, we wanted to peruse the Internet for some of the lesser-known developments in the printing world. In our search, we came across news that Office Depot has added the Samsung SMART printers to their product line. For us, these Samsung printers are one of the most exciting examples of continued innovation in the printer industry! We wanted to explore some specifics of this new technology and why you should get in on it.

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A Mini Robotic Printer

As you can tell from our last blog post, 3D printers are all the rage right now! But what about other kinds of printers? Surely the only developments aren't happening with 3D printing. Enter the Mini Mobile Robotic Printer. Measuring only 3.9 by 4.5 inches, this printer allows you to print on-the-go, without the usual limitations of desktop printing. Better yet: it's just 11,000 dollars away from its 400,000 dollar goal on Kickstarter, meaning the printers will ship by January 2015.

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Printing for the Future: HP and Mobile Printing

At 247inktoner, we are big proponents of using technology to increase your productivity. One application in particular, Evernote, is especially useful. But what can benefit your everyday printing experience at home and at the office? We know that installing printer software or trying to adjust your printer settings can be a real pain. That's where HP's mobile printing apps come in. With all kinds of solutions for home and office use on your mobile devices and email clients, printing is just a click away. Here are some of the highlights. More...

Near Field Communication Printing

No doubt 2013 has been one of the more exciting years in recent memory for developments in printing technology. With the vast expansion in capabilities of 3D printing and mobile applications, it's now easier and more efficient to print than ever before. However, mobile app technologies have been shown to have many limitations. With a new type of technology, called Near Field Communication (NFC), printing from your mobile phone might get considerably easier. More...

Guide to Wireless Printing from Your Computer and Mobile Phone

While printing dates back to the mid-15th century, wireless printing has only become commonly used in the last two decades. Wireless printing is, as the name clearly states, the ability to use a printer without a wire or a cord connecting the printer and computer. This will allow you to print from any computer within appropriate range of the printer, which will most likely be anywhere within your home. The average distance for wireless printing is approximately 100 feet, but this can vary based on the manufacturer. This wireless technology allows multiple family members to print from their personal computers to the same household printer.

3 Ways to Set Up Wireless Printing

  1. USB Cable: Many wireless printers will come with installation software and a USB cable. If you connect the printer and computer using the USB, you will be prompted to follow the installation guide setup steps. Once completed, you will be able to remove the USB and print wirelessly.

    Printer connected by a USB cable

  2. Wireless Setup Wizard: Using this method, you can setup wireless printing directly from the printer itself using either its control panel or touchscreen. You’ll need to follow a few quick steps and enter answers for questions such as the name of your wireless network and password.
  3. Wi-Fi Protected Setup: Similarly to the wireless setup wizard, you can also use this method using the printers control panel or touchscreen. If your home already has a WPS router with a push-button, after following a few printer setup steps, you will be able to push the button to activate the printer wirelessly with your computer.

Printing from personal computers is the most common form of printing and has been around almost as long as the computer itself. This form is used in offices and homes worldwide and while the printing technology has remained mostly the same, printers themselves have gotten more advanced.

The printer supply industry generates over $100 billion dollars a year. This includes not just printers, but also the ink cartridges or toner cartridges supplies. However, since smartphones and tablets hit the marketplace, the need to print from all technological forms grew as well. Since this need was growing, different mobile applications created by each leading manufacturer such as HP and Epson began emerging for both tablet and smart phone use.

What are my Options for Wireless Mobile Printing?

Regardless of the tablet or smartphone you have, there is a surplus of mobile printing apps to choose from. A few of the options you may use include Bluetooth printing, Apple AirPrint, or manufacturer applications. Allow us to highlight a few of the options:

    Apple iPhone AirPrint settings
  1. Bluetooth printing: Perhaps a more outdated technology, Bluetooth printing is primarily used with mobile phones, yet unlike Wi-Fi, your phone must be used within a few meters of the printer. This is best for phones without a Wi-Fi connection that are enabled for Bluetooth printing.
  2. Apple AirPrint: This is a great option for anyone who uses an Apple device whether an iPad or an iPhone. However AirPrint only applies to software versions 4.2 or later. There are several printers that are compatible with AirPrint including many Epson and HP models. Just locate what you would like to print on your phone, locate the print button (no application download needed), and your phones software will find all AirPrint printers in range you can print from.
  3. HP ePrint settings
  4. HP ePrint: This application can be downloaded directly from your mobile phone. The app is not only compatible with most HP printers, but is also compatible with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, photos, web pages, and more. The easy to use interface makes it simple to print documents, images, or web pages. If you have the appropriate printer and the application downloaded, make sure your printer is stocked with HP ink cartridges.
    Brother iPrint&Scan settings
  5. Brother iPrint&Scan: This app can also be downloaded directly from your mobile phone and is compatible with most Brother printers. In addition to an easy-to-use interface, the Brother app also allows you to set up scans from your smartphone and send results wirelessly to your printer. Don’t forget to fill your office or home printer with Epson ink cartridges before sending documents to print.

Printer applications have now become mainstream for most large manufacturers and have become expected by consumers. In the future, we can expect that most new smartphones will come with already enabled printing features, making the setup and installation process easier and easier. 

 

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