Office gear like printers and phones may not look like computers, but they are vulnerable to hackers

Your office phone, the printer, the building control system — these may not sound like computers, but they can all be hacked, according to cybersecurity pros. According to a CNBC News article:


“This is probably the most important cybersecurity threat that we have today because these computers control every single aspect of our critical infrastructure that we depend on every single day,” said Ang Cui, the CEO of Red Balloon, a New York City based cybersecurity company that specializes in keeping devices safe.


These devices contain what are known as embedded computers — microprocessors that use software to execute simple commands.


“An embedded computer is pretty much everything that is not a laptop, server, or a desktop,” Cui said.

Embedded computers are found in smart home devices, medical gear, cars, financial exchanges, power plants and more.


Companies have been compromised by embedded computers. Target’s 2013 data breach occurred after malware was installed on its point of sale system, which incorporates embedded devices. Since the breach, Target says it has taken actions including developing of point-of-sale management tools and decommissioning vendor access to the server impacted in the breach.


”[The breach] certainly cost Target a great deal of money and a great deal of headache,” Cui said. “They’re by no means the only company that had to recover from some event like this.”



The embedded device market is not slowing down. It is projected to be worth more than $214 billion by 2020, according to Radiant Insights, a market research company.


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Keith Heilveil

In 1999 Advantage Industries was created to protect and promote our client’s success through the use of innovative technology. Our company is a full services technology firm that provides computer network support and solutions, managed services, cybersecurity, and custom application development for small and medium businesses in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia areas.

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Tim Happel

Sr. Director of Sales, PMP

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