Drones can steal data off wireless printers

Hackers with drones targeting wireless printers

Of all of the devices users attempt to secure against cyber-thieves, few might think of their wireless printer. And even fewer may think of the hacker operating through a drone.

A smartphone mounted on a drone can steal data by intercepting signals computers send to wireless printers, even from outside an office building. So goes a recent experiment by researchers in Singapore, demonstrating that people can exploit an often overlooked vulnerability in network security from a safe distance, according to an article Wired.

Many printers come with open wireless connections, meaning anyone can access them. Many customers don't realize they can be exploited. The video above shows a drone outside an office snatching a signal that an "employee" inside the building is sending to a printer.

The researchers had two apps on the phone: One was a conventional cybersecurity app that looks for unsecured wireless connections. The second tricks computers nearby into thinking the phone is a nearby printer. Instead of printing, the document is sent to the phone, where it can be uploaded into the cloud.

The drone's wireless range had a radius of 26 meters, but, the article noted, hardware modifications could allow it to extend that range.

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