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5 Reasons why your printers are vulnerable to a cyber attack

The humble printer has been sat in the corner of our offices for decades now, they’ve developed a lot since the first concept was dreamed up by Charles Babbage as his Difference Engine in the 19th century, and since Epson released the first electronic printer in 1968.

In the past, printers have been connected directly to devices, now, the modern day multi-functional device 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 risks posed by an office printing device, it’s just a printer, right?

How could my printer be a potential threat to my 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 the pending GDPR enforcement date ahead, 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 cripple a business.

2. Unauthorised changes to settings
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. Saved copies on the 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 traffic on networks. Not only can they eavesdrop, but they can potentially capture documents that are sent from computers to the printers

5. Printer hacking via the network or internet
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.

Believe it or not, attacks from inside a network is only half the problem. If a printer is accessible via the Internet, the field of potential hackers becomes exponentially more worrying.

Attackers could:

1. Send bizarre print jobs to a connected and unsecure printer
2. Use the printer to transmit faxes
3. Change its LCD readout
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.

Protecting your business against the threats discussed 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 “4 Tiered Device Security Service”, which can remove/minimise the risk represented by your connected print devices. There are other methods too, feel free to get in touch to discuss this further or why not book a FREE Print Assessment where we can address these issues and more?

You may want to take advantage of our Print Offer for May10% discount if you get in touch before May 25th 2018.

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