Can A Printer Be A Security Risk

Can A Printer Be A Security Risk

When managing a business’s security, the office printer is one of the most commonly overlooked devices. This is mainly because people forget that these handy little machines are connected to the internet and process confidential information. However, printers can indeed pose a security risk to businesses and organisations if they are not regularly updated and protected.

In this article, we discuss the various ways your office printer could be a potential security risk and what you can do to mitigate them.

What are the risks?

Data Breaches

Attackers can intercept print jobs sent to networked printers if the communication between the computer and the printer is not encrypted, leading to a data breach.

A data breach is a cybersecurity incident in which confidential information is accessed, disclosed, stolen, or used by unauthorised individuals.

Once they have access to your system, hackers could gain access to the larger network and potentially launch more significant attacks. Hackers can also use the compromised data for identity theft, financial fraud, or blackmail.

Malware Distribution

Malware refers to any software or code that is specifically designed to harm, disrupt, or gain unauthorised access to devices and can take various forms, including:

  • Viruses
  • Trojans
  • Worms
  • Ransomware
  • Spyware
  • Botnets

Hackers can gain access to and install malware on an unsecured printer, which could then spread to other devices on the network and cause further damage and disruption.

Internal Risks

When it comes to printer security, it’s not just the external risks we need to think about; it’s the internal risks, too. Print jobs left in the print tray can be accessed by staff members, potentially revealing sensitive information concerning your business, clients, or other employees.

How To Protect Your Printer

To mitigate these risks and enhance security across the board, consider taking the following measures:

Regularly Update Firmware

Like computers and laptops, printers need regular firmware updates to protect them from attacks. It’s important to regularly update your devices with antivirus and anti-malware software to reduce the risk of data breaches and malware.

Use Secure Printing Methods

To prevent confidential documents from getting into the wrong hands internally, you can use authentication methods like PIN codes and passwords to ensure that only authorised individuals can release print jobs.

Our Cloud Printing Software has a ‘Secure Print Release’ function, which prevents unauthorised individuals from accessing documents that don’t belong to them by utilising a QR code, which print job owners must scan at the printer to retrieve their document.

Have A Company Print Policy

A print policy is a set of guidelines that outline how printing should be managed within your organisation. The goal of having a print policy is to promote responsible and safe printing across the board. Here’s an example of what should be included in your company’s print policy:

  • Define who has permission to access and use the printing resources.
  • Outline procedures for printing confidential or sensitive documents.
  • Specify protocols for handling printed materials containing sensitive information.
  • Outline proper disposal methods for documents containing sensitive information, i.e., shredding.

Update Drivers Regularly

The printer’s driver is essentially software that facilitates communication between your computer and the printer itself. It’s important to regularly update printer drivers as it can improve compatibility and performance and update your printer with new features issued by the manufacturer.

Overall, it’s essential to treat printers as a potential security risk and take the necessary steps to protect them. Many of our devices come equipped with security software and print management tools so you and your business can achieve the highest levels of security and protect your critical documents.

Browse our range of affordable devices from leading manufacturers HP and Konica Minolta.