HP offers $10K reward for hacking of its printers

A magnifying glass is held in front of a computer screen in this picture illustration in Berlin May 21, 2013. (REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski)

Each connected device is a potential security threat for businesses and individuals, and that is certainly the case for printers that are connected to, and regularly used for the production of potentially sensitive information. With that in mind, HP is launching the industry’s first bug bounty ‘ program aimed squarely printer safety.

As Nasdaq reports, the bug bounty targets HP printers specific and will be treated by means of a partnership with the crowdsourcing cybersecurity service Bugcrowd. HP wants to be the most secure printers in the world, which means that they are tested for vulnerabilities of the firmware.

HP’s decision to work with Bugcrowd can be the result of the latest 2018 State of Bug Bounty report, which pointed to a 21 percent increase in print vulnerabilities in the past year. That combined with attackers focusing more on the endpoint devices, such as printers. It is in HP’s interests to prevent vulnerabilities in the security where possible, when this is supplied in large amounts of hardware for our business customers each year under contract.

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The offering rewards for the finding of a printer vulnerabilities are very large, with HP offering up to $10,000, depending on the severity of the fault discovered. All vulnerabilities must be reported by means of Bugcrowd, who works with a private program of the researchers of the security. HP will assess and decide if a reward is required. Rewards can be offered to researchers as a good faith payment.

HP already claims to offer the most secure printing for the company, but hopefully this bug bounty program is not limited to only business printers. Consumer-focused printers are just as important and perhaps even better protection if they are not going to sit behind the same degree of security used to protect business networks.

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