HP Recruits Actor Christian Slater to Warn of Printer Security Vulnerabilities

Actor Christian Slater stars in HP’s “The Wolf” videos.

In the last several weeks, one report, as well as a hacking of thousands of printer and copier/MFPs, has emphasized the continuing security vulnerabilities of these devices. These security vulnerabilities can include everything from viruses and malware, to breaches of confidential data, identity theft, and hijacking of printers to print objectionable material.  HP Inc. today responded with an interesting blog post, noting that companies are more likely to expose themselves and their employers to costly cyber-attacks by using IT-issued PCs and printers, than they are to have sensitive information stolen by an anonymous hacker.

Vikrant Batra,  global head of marketing for HP Inc. Imaging and Printing says  that aging PCs with third-party security software and unsecured shared printers are particularly vulnerable “blind spots” in enterprise networks. In fact, says Batra, just two percent of the hundreds of millions of printers deployed in offices around the world have any type of security measures in place.

“The printers in today’s enterprise environments are as sophisticated as any computing device,” Batra says. “Hackers can pull data from a printer’s hard drive, or get access to your company’s network. And how many times have you walked by the printer and seen printouts with sensitive information just sitting there?”

Slater Stars in The Wolf Printer-Security Videos

One way HP says it’s getting the word out about this “major corporate blind spot” is by teaming up with actor Christian Slater for a new short film series that debuted today called The Wolf. See the series here.

HP says The Wolf highlights how skillful cyber-criminals can hack corporate networks. In the serialized short films, Slater plays on his role as a hacker in the TV series Mr. Robot, and systematically infiltrates a company entirely through vulnerabilities in unprotected printers and PCs. Starting in the mail room, and moving up to the executive boardroom, he breaches a fictional company’s most sensitive data via an abandoned printout, the printer interface, and even a downloaded gift certificate.

It’s the everyday-ness of these actions that make them so dangerous, Batra notes.

“We really want to connect with IT decision makers, CIOs, and CISOs and engage this audience with a message that they’ll pay attention to,” he says. “It’s extremely important to have all aspects of the ecosystem secured.”

HP says that it’s designing industry-leading hardware and software solutions with innovative features across multiple levels of security. In HP’s printers, that includes the Jet Advantage Security Manager, secure boot-up, firmware validation, and run-time code protections, while HP’s lineup of business PCs deploys HP Sure Click, HP Sure View, and HP Sure Start Gen3.

HP says it’s also working to continually improve security for what Batra calls the “three Ds” — data, document, and device. “We want to secure all of them,” he said.

The Wolf series is directed by BAFTA and Emmy nominee Lance Acord and edited by Academy Award winner Kirk Baxter.

“Hacking is a serious and growing problem for businesses and consumers. When HP asked me to partner on this series, I thought it was a great opportunity to help educate the public about how to better protect against cyber attacks,” said Christian Slater.

Over the coming months HP says that it’ll be “elevating its commitment to reinvent security through a broad range of partnerships, events and product innovations for the most secure devices, solutions and technologies.” For more information on HP Secure, visit HP here.

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