Bugcrowd will manage new disclosure award program for HP printers.

HP will pay up to $,000 per vulnerability found in its enterprise printers under a new bug bounty program.

Bugcrowd is heading up HP’s new private bug bounty program, with award amounts based on the severity of the flaws. A recent report from Bugcrowd shows an increase of 21% in vulnerabilities discovered in printers.

Printers often get overlooked as potential vectors. But with rising threats targeting other Internet of Things (IoT) devices and printers getting outfitted with more advanced functions, they’re becoming a more attractive weak link.

“Like the , printers have become incredibly powerful devices, increasing in storage and processing power. However, we haven’t reached awareness to secure print devices, and all the good practices that are employed to protect PCs and other important nodes in the network are not being deployed with consistency to printers,” says Shivaun Albright, chief technologist for printing at HP. “HP’s goal is to continually improve and help our customers manage their devices.”  

HP previously had worked directly with researchers who discovered flaws in its printers. “We’ve always actively encouraged researchers to report vulnerabilities,” Albright says.

Its new printer bug bounty program calls for researchers to root out firmware flaws, such as cross-site request forgery (CSRF), remote code execution (RCE), and cross-site scripting (XSS). “Bugcrowd and HP have worked with one researcher to physically send [to them] an enterprise grade A3 printer to fully assess all components from the outside in,” Albright says.

The program initially is for HP LaserJet Enterprise printers and HP PageWide Enterprise printers and MFPs (A3 and A4 formats).

While IoT devices have received a lot of attention security-wise of late, printers have not. “There’s a big focus on connected devices like Web cameras or smart TVs, which are highly relatable to everyone, but not printers necessarily,” Albright says. “That said, printers may be the most common IoT device an individual uses.”  

The Mirai botnet attack in 2016 was a big wake-up call: “[It] took down the Internet in a major way. The botnet used hacked IoT devices, like webcams and DVRs, but printers were also a part of that mix,” she says.

Printers often get lost in the shuffle when it comes to enterprise security. “There is currently a gap in discussions between decision-makers and those implementing the technology,” Albright notes. “We’re also seeing mismanagement in the deployment of printers leaving critical ports and settings open. This makes it easy for attackers to remotely access the device.”

HP recommends that printer customers work closely with their channel partners to use managed print services programs, and that remote workers avoid printing via unsecure Wi-Fi networks, for example.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise … View Full Bio

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