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Hackers Are Flooding Businesses' Receipt Printers With 'Anti-Work' Messages

The messages direct their recipients to the r/antiwork subreddit, which gained traction during the Covid-19 pandemic when workers began advocating for more rights. 

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Hackers are taking control of business receipt printers to circulate pro-labor messages, according to a report from Vice and posts on Reddit

Screenshots posted on Reddit and Twitter reveal some of the messages. "Are you being underpaid?" one message asks. Another reads, "How can the McDonald's in Denmark pay their staff $22 an hour and still manage to sell a Big Mac for less than in America? Answer: UNIONS!"

Though the messages posted online vary, they share a pro-labor sentiment, with many leading their recipients to the r/antiwork subreddit, which gained traction during the Covid-19 pandemic when workers began advocating for more rights. 

Related: A Business Leader's Beginner Guide to Cybersecurity

Many Reddit users appreciated the receipt hack, with one user calling it "hilarious," while some questioned the authenticity of the messages. But a cybersecurity firm that monitors the internet told Vice the messages are legitimate. "Someone is... blast[ing] raw TCP data directly to printer services across the internet," GreyNoise founder Andrew Morris said. "Basically to every single device that has port TCP 9100 open, and print[ing] a pre-written document that references /r/antiwork with some workers rights/counter capitalist messaging."

Morris also said it's a sophisticated operation — whoever's behind it is using 25 separate servers, so blocking one IP address won't necessarily be enough to stop the messages. "A technical person is broadcasting print requests for a document containing workers rights messaging to all printers that are misconfigured to be exposed to the internet," Morris continued. 

Related: One Shockingly Common Blind Spot that Can Derail Your Company's Cybersecurity

Printers and other internet-connected devices can be very susceptible to attack; hackers are well-versed in taking advantage of those that are insecure. In 2018, a hacker took control of 50,000 printers to promote the controversial influencer PewDiePie. 

Amanda Breen

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Amanda Breen is an editorial assistant at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and recently completed the MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts during the 2020-2021 academic year.