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Printing And Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Data And Privacy

printing and cybersecurity

It’s important for business owners to be aware that cyberattacks can occur through more than just computers and routers. Surprisingly, printers can also be exploited by cybercriminals to gain access to your network, it is important to consider printing and cybersecurity and know how to protect your data and privacy. In fact, in 2017, researchers discovered vulnerabilities in internet-connected printers that could have allowed hackers to steal passwords, take control of network printers, and remotely access soft copies of printed documents.

In 2020, a cybersecurity news website highlighted printer security issues by hacking into 50,000 printers with internet-based printing features and printing the message “This printer has been hacked!” on almost 28,000 of them. These incidents serve as a reminder that printers can be a potential entry point for cyberattacks and should be included in any organization’s security considerations.

Reasons for Increasing Printer Cyber Attacks?  

Each year, more and more security breaches occur in the printing industry. Many organizations fail to place enough emphasis on the security of printers and Internet of Things (IoT) devices despite the continuous rise in cyber threats against them.

Despite the fact that October is designated as National Cybersecurity Month, printing and cybersecurity knowledge is more important than ever in the post-pandemic, hybrid-office, cloud-centric era. According to the Ponemon Institute and IBM’s annual Cost of a Data Breach Study, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million, up 10% from the year before. The average cost in the United States, the nation with the highest cost, was almost $9 million.

How Much Does It Important To Think About Printer Security Concerns? 

It’s only a matter of time before your organization becomes the next victim if you’re not prioritizing security at this point. To begin, recognize that every person with access to the devices on your network and every device itself could potentially serve as an attack vector. This includes copiers and multifunction printers (MFPs), so it’s crucial to take action now.

Printers and other printing devices are vulnerable to hacking and can be exploited for nefarious purposes, such as providing a gateway for cyberattacks. Therefore, it is essential to regard them as potential security risks and implement measures to secure them, just as you would with your computer systems and servers. By taking precautions such as those used to protect your network, you can help create a safer and more secure environment.

Today’s printing devices are advanced, with built-in intelligence and programmability, which necessitates an internet connection. However, connecting these devices to a corporate network increases the potential for a cyber-attack on the enterprise. Therefore, organizations must exercise greater caution than ever before to safeguard against such attacks.

Some Common Printing and Cybersecurity Concerns 

A printer can function as one of the major attack surfaces in a given IT infrastructure due to its feature-rich design and minimal to no out-of-the-box security. Some businesses are unaware that they are exposed to common print security concerns like:

  1. Theft.

Forget about network hackers; any documents that aren’t instantly safeguarded can be simply taken from the document tray by anyone in the company.

  1. Printers are under siege.

Hackers can use printers to wreak havoc on company resources, from bringing the system to a standstill with bogus print jobs to utilizing the device as a pawn in DDoS attacks.

  1. Vulnerability in the network.

An unprotected printer can compromise an entire network. A single open vector is all that is required to allow access to any connected device.

  1. Breach of data security.

Printer caches are frequently used to store social security numbers, client data, and secret documents. If left unprotected, this information becomes easy prey for crooks armed with the most basic of instruments.

The Threat Landscape For Multifunction Printers Is More Complex.

In our report, we warned that the threats and vulnerabilities associated with modern multifunction printers are even greater: 

  • Illegal Printing of Data: Anyone who walked over to the printer could view someone else’s private paperwork.
  • Unapproved Configuration Alterations: To route print jobs, someone might alter the printer’s setup.
  • Alteration of a Print Job: Print job manipulation includes swapping out the material for fresh content, adding new content, and removing logs to prevent repudiation.
  • Data Disclosure for Print: When printers are turned off, accessing print data from the memory, file system, print jobs, and hard drives is considered print data disclosure.
  • An Assault Point Might Be the Printer: It is possible to attack other systems, run arbitrary malicious code, or attack other apps via a compromised printer.
  • Risks of Cloud Printing:  Because the print job is generated on shared infrastructure and communicated to the printer using a program like PostScript, there is an inherent risk associated with cloud printing. This strategy leaves it open to middlemen attacks or attempts to get access to the corporate network via cloud printing services.
  • Risks of wireless printing: For attackers, wireless printing creates extra access points. With Wi-Fi, an attacker can conduct proximity assaults outside of the walls, such as getting the printer to connect to a hostile network and then running destructive code. 

Have a Look Towards Printer Security Strategy 

1. Check Your Print Trays Regularly.

It is important to regularly check the print trays of your office printer for unused pages that may contain sensitive information, in order to prevent any security breaches. A simple way to maintain security is to invest in a good shredder and place it next to the printer. By doing this, you can encourage your employees to shred any unnecessary prints that may contain sensitive information and educate them on how to recognize what information is sensitive. This will enable them to distinguish which papers should be shredded and which ones can be safely recycled in the printer.

2. Routinely Audit Your Networked Printers And Copiers: 

To ensure your organization’s print network security, it’s crucial to conduct regular audits of your print devices. This responsibility can be delegated to your technology team or a managed print partner. A comprehensive print network security audit should reveal your current strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. It’s essential for the audit team to stay up-to-date with the latest cyber threats, enabling them to adjust the company’s strategy accordingly. Working with a managed print partner has the added benefit of receiving expert advice on and implementation of security software and hardware tailored to your needs.

3. Update Your Printers.

Manufacturers of printers are constantly addressing potential security risks in their devices and providing updates to their printer software for enhanced protection. Regularly updating your printers ensures that any previously identified threats have been resolved by the manufacturer. By updating your printers on a quarterly basis, you can take advantage of the basic security features that your printer provides.

4. Enable Printer Security Features

In order to protect against printing and cybersecurity, it is important to activate the security features on your printers. The specific features available will depend on the manufacturer of your printer. For example, HP’s SureStart feature will monitor for potential threats when the printer is turned on and will automatically shut down the printer if a threat is detected. Canon’s Encrypted Secure Print feature ensures that data from a document is encrypted during transmission and storage to prevent attackers from accessing sensitive information.

5.  Install a firewall.

It is essential for most offices to have a dependable firewall in place to safeguard their printers from cyber-attacks. Many computers come equipped with pre-installed firewalls that can be easily enabled and kept running to provide adequate protection. However, for more comprehensive protection, investing in an advanced and specialized firewall may be necessary for your office or home. These firewalls offer top-of-the-line security measures that make it challenging for hackers to penetrate. Protecting your organization’s data is crucial, and your printer should not be overlooked as a valuable asset in need of protection. 

6. Dispose of Old Printers in Right Way

Outdated hardware can pose various problems, especially when it comes to disposing of it. For instance, a damaged printer can become a significant risk if not properly handled. Printers commonly save some data on internal hard drives, and this information may end up being thrown away alongside the equipment. However, it can be easily recovered by unauthorized personnel. To avoid such scenarios, IT administrators should ensure that all printer data is wiped out before discarding or donating the equipment. Sometimes, the hard drives can be extracted, linked to a computer, and erased in a few steps. As a result, it is about time to regard printers as other devices that are added to the network, such as smartphones and tablets. While most organizations may find this task overwhelming, IT service providers who can offer managed print services that address security issues will be highly appreciated by their customers.

Connect With Professional Right Away! 

Due to a lack of printing and cybersecurity solutions, several firms have suffered multi-million dollar losses. The Administration is constantly looking for someone to monitor all of their printer security. But if you get dissatisfied after trying various kinds of printer security and not getting the required results, it’s time to move to the pros.

Here, 123printersupport offers comprehensive printer solutions and professional assistance. When you work with us, we’ll stop cybercriminals from using your printers as a tool. Access controls will also be put in place so that only authorized individuals can use your printers.

Finally, while lowering printing costs, we’ll make sure that all of your printers are in good condition for operation. Complete Document Solutions offers all managed print services required in the USA, including document security and printer fleet management. Send us a message or contact us right away to find out more about what we can do for you.

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