Russian hackers show why you need to change your office printer password
Russian state-sponsored hackers may be trying to spy on companies by hacking into vulnerable office IoT devices connected to their corporate network, according to Microsoft.
“In two of the cases, the passwords for the devices were deployed without changing the default manufacturer’s passwords and in the third instance the latest security update had not been applied to the device,” Microsoft said in a blog post. Once compromised, the hackers then scanned the corporate network for entryways into administrative accounts, which would grant them access to potentially valuable data.
Evidence of the attack includes a simple computer script installed on the affected IoT devices, which allowed the hackers to persist on the affected product. Microsoft suspects the attacks came from the Russian state-sponsored hacking group known as Fancy Bear or Strontium, which has also been blamed for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016.
The incident is a reminder to secure your IoT devices, especially if you bring them to the office. Smart appliances are notorious for using weak default passwords and running vulnerable software, so be aware of the potential security and privacy risks.
“Today, the number of deployed IoT devices outnumber the population of personal computers and mobile phones, combined,” Microsoft said. “We can see in this example that adversaries are happy to exploit simpler configuration and security issues to achieve their objectives. These simple attacks taking advantage of weak device management are likely to expand as more IoT devices are deployed in corporate environments.”
Redmond refrained from naming the affected products, but says device manufacturers have been informed of the attacks, and are exploring new protections. By releasing the research, Microsoft is hoping the tech industry will come up with solutions that can better integrate and monitor IoT devices installed in enterprise networks.
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