SINGAPORE (Apr 16): Extensive digital transformation is taking place across industries. To keep up with changing workplace habits of a new next-generation workforce, companies are adopting new software and hardware as well as putting more information on the cloud. Meanwhile, the sophistication and volume of cyberattacks and data breaches is growing exponentially. So, securing network and endpoints has become an indispensable part of managing business risks.

But a network is only as secure as its weakest link. New strategies are needed to secure network-connected devices that can be a source of vulnerability. However, when formulating security strategies, many companies overlook the humble printer, typically forgetting that it has access to the network and churns out highly confidential documents. IT departments usually apply rigorous security standards to PCs and other connected mobile devices, but overlook the printer in the mistaken belief that these devices cannot be hacked — leaving it defenceless.

Last year, a 17-year-old calling himself “stackoverflowin” proved those IT departments wrong. He hacked 150,000 insecure printers and instructed them to print a document hailing his feat and asking the printer network operators to “please close this port”. The hacker partly accomplished his mission. Victims of the hack flooded social media and online forums with cries for help.

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