Hackers are looking for unsupported printer controllers to gain entry to networks

I’m Mike Hesser, a wide-format specialist at Eastern Engineering. I have been providing demonstrations and helping customers choose the best printer for their business for more than ten years.


Microsoft Operating Systems has ended support for some printer controllers. This creates a serious risk for viruses, malware, and ransomware through wide format printers.

Wide-format printers in the LED/High-Speed Color category use a controller.  This is a computer that manages the print jobs coming into your printer and scan jobs going out of your system if equipped with a scanner.  The controllers for printers use an operating system which is either Microsoft or Linux.

An unsupported operating system creates a serious security risk for network printers due to viruses, malware and ransomware.

Microsoft Operating Systems

These operating systems are the same as the operating systems on your PC or laptop.  Many printer manufacturers use Microsoft.  A problem has arisen with the use of these operating systems.  Microsoft has been ending its support on legacy operating systems as they release newer versions.  This means they no longer offer technical assistance, software patches, or security updates.  Wide-format printers are shared with multiple users through network connections. 

I encourage anyone with a printer that has an unsupported Microsoft operating system to consult with their IT services.  It is fairly common for a printer controller to use one of these Microsoft Operating Systems.

  • Window 10 – supported until 10/2025
  • Windows 8 – supported until 1/2023
  • Windows 7– support ended 1/2020
  • Windows XP – support ended 4/2014
  • Windows NT – support ended 6/2004

Some manufacturers offer upgrades from unsupported operating systems to current operating systems.  Typically, the OS upgrade comes with additional costs. Hackers will be looking for any unsupported and unpatched device they can take advantage of as an entry point into the network.

Linux Operating Systems

Linux is a more secure operating system.  It is stable and is not subject to ‘end-of-life’ like Microsoft operating systems.  Developers and IT professionals agree that the inherent structure of the Linux Operating System makes it more secure than Microsoft and Mac Operating Systems.

We can help.

Eastern Engineering can talk with you about options if your printer uses an outdated controller. Purchasing a new printer might prevent a devastating network cyber attack.