Startup Offers to Protect Printers, Phones, and Other Devices from Hackers

The first device running the defensive code, a Cisco IP phone, will be unveiled this week.

To most people, office printers are innocuous workplace gathering points—places to complain about the ever-disappearing toner or that colleague who apparently loves killing trees. To Ang Cui, they are high-value targets that give hackers a way to breach sensitive systems and steal trade secrets.

Red Balloon Security, a startup cofounded by Cui, has developed technology that can protect such equipment from hackers. This involves watching for signs of tampering with the low-level code—or firmware—that runs on these devices. The company plans to demonstrate the first device injected with the defensive code, a Cisco IP phone, this week.

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