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Some University Printers Hacked with Hate Messages

Published August 3, 2016

On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, University Police responded to complaints about white supremacist documents in university printers in two university buildings.  The flyers were believed to be sent by a hacker who claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on public networked printers at universities across the U.S.

University Police immediately reported the incident to the FBI and UB’s Information Security Office is taking steps to prevent future cyberattacks on university printers.

Members of the university community should be aware that printers and other network appliances can be exploited by malicious individuals. Additionally, most printers have built-in Web servers, making them easier to access over the Internet. 

While the ideal security approach involves setting up firewalls around printers and similar appliances, individual UB departments have a great deal of freedom in obtaining and deploying these machines. This leeway makes it difficult for the university to widely enforce proper security protocol for printers. However, UB’s Information Security Office will continue to work with university departments to address these problems.

What to do if your printer is hacked

If you receive a hate message via your office’s printer or fax, report it to the UB Information Security Office at abuse@buffalo.edu. Please provide the printer’s IP address and time of the printout if possible.

Racist and discriminatory conduct have no place at UB, and will not be tolerated.  Whenever acts motivated by hatred or discrimination occur, the university will respond promptly to protect the safety and well-being of the entire university community.

More information about UB’s policies on discrimination, diversity and inclusion are available here.