In 2015, a market research and analysis firm IDC survey found that more than half of those surveyed had experienced at least one printer-related breach in previous years. But what has changed since then? From March 2020 to March 2021, 39% of businesses and 26% of charities, reported having cyber security breaches or attacks. The most common attack was phishing attacks, with 83% for businesses and 79% for charities.
What makes printers an easy target for hackers?
In 2019, the NCC Group revealed how easy a target office printer could be. Office printers store a lot of sensitive data, and often they come with a web-based interface or an internet connection. They have a huge attack surface, making them easy to hack. Most companies print finance, government, tech, and client documents stored in the printer’s memory. However, printers are also complicated devices, more complex than people realise. They have multiple internet-connected components, networking protocols, printer languages, fonts, connected apps and connected devices, which all have their vulnerabilities.
When was the last time you updated your printer? Most people think you should update your computers, laptops, and phones and always forget about updating the printers in the office. This is a severe risk as printers can store important documents in their memory, and if you don’t update your printer, you’re leaving a big chance for a hacker to come in and take these documents, leaving yourself, employees and clients at risk.
What are the risks of having an unsafe printer on the network?
There are two main risks of a hazardous printer. This might not sound very comforting, but we’re here to explain them to you.
Office printers, also known as multifunctional printers, are tiny computers where data can be exposed through the network either by a cable or wirelessly without security in place. If your printer is connected to a network, printer configurations can change the reroute of the printing job. Printers store data internally, so if printers are used between companies or go to different companies, temporary data is likely to remain on the printer, and it could be exposed to hackers.
Do you know if your printer has end to end encryption? If you share a printer on a network, you usually won’t have end to end encryption. This is dangerous as this means anyone can get into the printer’s memory and take the documents you’ve printed off for their use. Remember, printers are like small laptops, so they need to be treated like one with regular updates and treating it carefully to decrease the risk of it being hacked.
Mobile Device Printing:
Does your printer provide a cross-platform printing solution like we do? A cross-platform printing solution lets employees print things from their mobile devices. Being able to print directly from your phone reduces the risk of cyber hacking massively. If the employees couldn’t print through their phone, they would be forced to use third-party apps which could lead to many new entry points for hackers to access your system.
How to make sure your printer is safe:
Are you aware of how to make your printer safe? Do you know how to make sure your printer is up to date? It might be scary when you come to release that your printer can store everything you’ve printed on the internal memory. Still, we’re here to tell you all the ways you can secure your printer to prevent any hackers from getting to the internal memory drive.
Generally, most companies have security audits and risk prevention strategies. In future, you should always make sure your printer is included in these audits and prevention strategies.
Limit network printing:
The next thing we would recommend is to limit network printing in your settings. You can do this by configuring settings so that the printer only responds to commands from the network router. This makes it so much harder for hackers to access your network router.
Turn off protocols:
All unused protocols and services should be turned off if they are not in frequent use. If they are not turned off, this could be another easy way for hackers to access the printer.
We offer print management but does your current printing company offer print management? If you have access to print management, you’re able to see who’s using your printer and how they’re using it too. This way, if you were to be hacked, you’d be able to see if they were accessing any documents stored in the memory and printing them elsewhere. On this note, your data should always be encrypted. This way, if it does fall into the wrong hands, it will be useless.
Manufactures updates for software and hardware should be done as soon as possible. This is because these updates may fix some security risks raised to the manufacturer. It would also be worth using a two-factor authentication so that users must identify themselves to receive any printing jobs. If you limit threats to digital files, you also need to restrict printed documents’ access.
Don’t wait to make your printer safe.
All printer safety should be taken very seriously; this is one of the easiest ways hackers can access your data. You also protect the business, employees, and customers by safeguarding our printer. At Control Print, we provide a cross-platform printing solution and print management to help you reduce the risks of cyberattacks in your business.
Speak to us
Get in touch with us today if you are concerned about printer-related cyber threats to your business, employees, and customers.