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Hackers Are Flooding Businesses' Receipt Printers With 'Anti-Work' Messages

Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
 2021-12-03

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Hackers are taking control of business receipt printers to circulate pro-labor messages, according to a report from Vice and posts on Reddit .

Screenshots posted on Reddit and Twitter reveal some of the messages. "Are you being underpaid?" one message asks. Another reads, "How can the McDonald's in Denmark pay their staff $22 an hour and still manage to sell a Big Mac for less than in America? Answer: UNIONS!"

Though the messages posted online vary, they share a pro-labor sentiment, with many leading their recipients to the r/antiwork subreddit, which gained traction during the Covid-19 pandemic when workers began advocating for more rights.

Related: A Business Leader's Beginner Guide to Cybersecurity

Many Reddit users appreciated the receipt hack, with one user calling it "hilarious," while some questioned the authenticity of the messages. But a cybersecurity firm that monitors the internet told Vice the messages are legitimate. "Someone is... blast[ing] raw TCP data directly to printer services across the internet," GreyNoise founder Andrew Morris said. "Basically to every single device that has port TCP 9100 open, and print[ing] a pre-written document that references /r/antiwork with some workers rights/counter capitalist messaging."

Morris also said it's a sophisticated operation — whoever's behind it is using 25 separate servers, so blocking one IP address won't necessarily be enough to stop the messages. "A technical person is broadcasting print requests for a document containing workers rights messaging to all printers that are misconfigured to be exposed to the internet," Morris continued.

Related: One Shockingly Common Blind Spot that Can Derail Your Company's Cybersecurity

Printers and other internet-connected devices can be very susceptible to attack; hackers are well-versed in taking advantage of those that are insecure. In 2018, a hacker took control of 50,000 printers to promote the controversial influencer PewDiePie.

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