The printer has been sat humbly in the corner of our offices for decades now, they’ve developed a lot since Epson released the first electronic printer in 1968. With these advancements along have come new challenges that must be addressed.
In the past, printers were connected directly to other devices, now, the modern day multi-functional device (MFD) is connected to an entire network, and like any other device attached to an IT infrastructure, it comes with its own risks. Surprisingly we often overlook the cyber security risks posed by the office printer, it’s just a printer, right?
How could your printer be a potential threat to your business? We’ll explain.
Printers face 5 main threats and vulnerabilities:
1. Document theft or snooping
Simply put, this is when a person/colleague/visitor simply walks over to a printer and picks up, or reads a document that belongs to someone else. This common security breach highlights all manner of potential security issues when handling sensitive data. With GDPR no being enforced, and with the knowledge that this type of data is of interest to unsavoury characters, a breach of this kind, can be a breach of the GDPR, which can potentially result in fines that can damage a business.
2. Settings changed without authority
If the printer settings and controls aren't secure, someone may mistakenly, or even intentionally, alter and reroute print jobs, open saved copies of documents, or reset the printer to its factory defaults, thereby wiping all your settings. Another serious and potentially crippling data breach.
3. Printers have internal storage
Most printers have an internal disk drive, which can store print jobs, scans, copies, and faxes. If the printer is stolen, or discarded without properly erasing the data, there is a likely potential that a potential hacker could recover the saved documents.
4. Eavesdropping on network printer traffic
It’s known that Hackers can eavesdrop on network traffic. Not only can they eavesdrop, but they can potentially capture documents that are sent from computers to the printers.
5. Networks get hacked via the printer
A person on a network, can hack into a network-connected printer fairly easily, especially if it's an older model lacking more advanced security features, or if it isn't password-protected. Once they have access to your network they can start becoming a more serious breach.
Believe it or not, attacks from inside a network are only half the problem. If a printer is accessible via the Internet, the number of potential hackers becomes exponentially more worrying.
1. Send bizarre and unwanted print jobs to a connected and unsecure printer
2. Use the printer to transmit faxes
3. Gain deeper access to your network
4. Change its settings
5. Launch Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks to lock it up
6. Retrieve saved copies of documents
7. They could even install malware on the printer itself to control it remotely or to gain access to it.
Securing your business against the threats above can be achieved. Like many threat prevention strategies, knowing where the treats can originate from, and how they work, goes a long way to strengthening security borders.
One solution you may want to consider would be our “Manged Print Security Service”, which can remove/minimise the risk represented by your connected print devices.
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