Why hackers love office printers and 4 ways to secure them


Aug 4, 2022

Most businesses use printers as a fundamental and ubiquitous part of their operations. Consequently, your company can be exposed to significant cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Your printer is vulnerable unless managed print services monitor it professionally. Get in touch with Milner today if you're not sure how safe your printers are. 

Hackers love printers because they're ubiquitous and easily accessible. This makes them ideal targets for cybercriminals looking to steal data or shut down systems. Physical attacks, network attacks, DDoS attacks are all still big ways cybercriminals try to gain access to your sensitive data through your printers. Over the past year, cybercriminals have upped their tactics using new techniques like remote access Trojan (RAT) infections, HTML smuggling, malicious .pub email attachments, PDF malware, and even malware sent through PowerPoint. 

The number of new ways for hackers to gain access to your company's fleet of printers if you don't have secure print management services, can make protecting your company from cyber threats seem impossible.

Organizations can utilize managed print services (MPS) to manage their printing environment, including printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines, multifunction devices, and networked systems, as well as manage and maintain security features. A MPS provider can provide a number of benefits including cost savings, increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and reduced downtime. MPSs know that multifunction printers are simply another office computer with a unique vulnerability to cyber attacks since they are accessed by so many people. Here are 4 ways cyber threats to your printing system can cause security breaches and how managed print services can provide security for your business. 

Want to know how secure your printers are? Check out our Print Security Checklist.

  1. Physical theft

    However convenient remote printing may be, documents can be forgotten or left at the printer, increasing the risk of physical theft and possible compromise of sensitive information every time print jobs are sent. An MPS will set up and require two-factor authentication as part of its printer security services. This protects against printer vulnerabilities by requiring users to verify their identity before they can access print data.

  2. Network access

    Hackers can exploit printers' wireless capabilities by connecting their own devices to the printer's WiFi or network connection. Upon connecting, they can spy on your day-to-day activities, gaining easy access to your confidential information. They can even send spam messages, spread viruses, or launch DDoS attacks against other computers in range, potentially compromising sensitive data of your clients.

    A managed service provider can ensure your printers are included in your printer security audits and risk prevention strategies. To ensure complete print security, each office printing device can be protected against data theft by installing encryption protocols and disabling unused port services and ports. A system that regularly erases hard-drive data, primarily before removing the printer, should also be in place.

  3. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks

    In addition to stealing your private information, hackers can also use printers to disrupt your business operations. A hacker could hack into a printer and change its settings so it prints pages over and over again until the paper runs out. Or they could modify the firmware of a printer to make it continuously spit out blank sheets of paper. They can even assume controvl over system functions, change your passwords and deny you access to your own equipment. This is called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which uses multiple compromised devices to flood a targeted server with requests. This causes the server to become overwhelmed, preventing legitimate users from accessing the server.

  4. Data breaches due to mobile device printing

    When a company loses control of its data, it becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks. The wireless transmissions from mobile devices make printers especially vulnerable to hackers since they can provide multiple entry points into a network. Additionally, when employees use third-party apps to print from their mobile devices, it is more challenging to provide network authentication and secure access to printers. Proper managed print security provides regular network printer management, including the firmware, hardware, and encryption updates necessary to keep your printers secure. Additionally, an expert MPS knows that most enterprise-level MFP printers and copiers have hundreds of security settings related to a variety of protocols that are often left unconfigured leaving you vulnerable. In order to ensure your cybersecurity framework has no holes or gaps through which you can be exploited, Milner knows which of these complicated settings need to be configured and for which setting.

MPS security services provided by Milner is the solution

As copiers and printers have become more sophisticated in terms of computing capability, they have also become more vulnerable. The right printing technology, commitment, and expertise are essential to protect your business. Having sensitive data on your devices, networks and networks connected to them can lead to printer security issues. Milner can help you meet these challenges.

An experienced MPS provider has the knowledge and experience necessary to properly set up and maintain your company's printing environment. An expert knows how to prevent vulnerabilities and threats, and can quickly detect potential problems before they become serious issues. An expert like Milner can even help provide you with the information you need to feel more secure, even though we're taking care of the threats for you.
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