Hackers Use Drones to Steal Wireless Print Jobs

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

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!


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