Call (716) 373-4467
15Apr

Why Protecting Your Printers from Cybercrime Is a Must (Plus 8 Tips for Improving Printer Security)

Printing devices are often overlooked when it comes to security. The reality is, cybercriminals can hack your printer to get confidential information.

Your printer is probably the last piece of computer equipment you thought needed protection from cybercriminals.

But the truth is very different.

Hackers actively try to locate the weakest links in security to gain access to and exploit valuable data. Among the weakest links are printers.

The thing with printers nowadays is that they have access to your devices, network, and the internet. This new open-access functionality makes them an ideal target for cyberattacks.

Unfortunately, many business owners overlook the importance of securing their printers and mainly focus on computers and mobile phones.

Most people still perceive printers as internal devices that serve basic functions. For this very reason, they are an easy target for cybercriminals.

Other than performing unauthorized print jobs, hackers can access confidential information as well as connected computers and networks all through a printer.

You may also not be aware of the amount of valuable data your printer can store about you – tax files, bank details, financial records, employee information, personal information, etc. All a hacker needs to do is get into the operating system of your printer, and they can collect this sensitive data.

If you’ve just realized the importance of securing your printer, keep reading. This article shares eight tips to help you do just that.

The 8 Tips

Tip #1: Make Sure Your Printers are Configured Correctly

Many things can make a printer vulnerable to cyber threats and security breaches. So, you want to get the basics right to ensure the attacks don’t happen to you. 

To start, make sure to change the default password on your printer. Since anyone can access a printer remotely, a simple “123456” code won’t suffice. 

Second, make sure you’re using your own router to print files remotely. Never connect to “Guest” networks.

Tip #2: Inspect Print Trays Regularly

This one is a no-brainer, but everyone could use it as a reminder. Make sure to check your print trays and get rid of unused pages carrying sensitive information. There’s no easier way to prevent data leaks than this.

Alternatively, you can get a shredder for your office and shred the papers you don’t want anyone to see.

Tip #3: Install Malware and Firmware Updates

Invest time and effort to ensure that your malware and firmware protection are up to date and can handle all types of hacks.

The good news is that many printers come with pre-built malware protection.

HP, for example, installs the HP “SureStart” software in their printers that monitors approaching targets when the printer is on. The software can shut down the device if an attack comes its way. This is a great way to prevent attacks from spreading further within the network.

Tip #4: Limit Access to the Network

Unprotected printers in a network are an extremely easy target for cybercriminals. Sure, businesses and offices require printers to access networks to perform remote prints but if you can do the job by disabling the network access, make sure you do that.

If not, tweak the printer and network settings to only allow the device to take print jobs from the network you trust. This will help avoid outside interference and security breaches. 

Tip #5: Update Your Printers

Updating a printer is equally as important as updating your phone to the latest software. Much in the way iOS developers look for bugs and fix them in a new update, printer manufacturers work toward known device vulnerabilities and update the software for added protection. 

Look for printer updates so you can easily overcome known threats to the printer. Ideally, update your printers every quarter to get the most out of the security benefits.

Tip #6: Install a Firewall

If you run an office, chances are you already have a firewall. But in case you missed this requirement, now’s the time to do it.

Using a reliable firewall helps keep printers safe from cybercriminals.

Your computers most likely come with pre-built firewalls, and all you need to do is keep them enabled. But there are also specialized firewalls for homes and offices that offer advanced security and make it virtually impossible for anyone to break in.

Tip #7: Encrypt Your Storage

Printers with shared networks can perform distance printing. When a print job is in transit and travels from a computer to a printer, hackers can intercept the data and exploit it.

To keep this from happening, encrypt your print jobs. Also, make sure the sensitive data on your printer’s hard or internal drive is encrypted as well.

Keep in mind that when you print a document, that file is often stored as an image within the printer and makes it an easy target for hackers. It’s why you should use an encryption tool to protect your data. Luckily, many modern printers have this tool pre-built.

You can use the tool to set up a secure password that allows printer storage encryption, remove user IDs and ex-employee access, delete documents from the print queue once they’re printed, and much more.

Tip #8: Educate Your Employees

If you work in an office, chances are you aren’t the only person using the printer. Everyone that has access to it needs to be aware of the responsibilities that come with its usage. Make sure to talk to your employees about ways to ensure both the physical and virtual safety of the printers. 

Your staff should also be careful when using their mobile devices to print, as smartphones are easier to hack. Explain to them what phishing scams are and how they can avoid being the victim. 

Finally, make sure it’s clear to them how they can use confidential information in your company.

It’s Time to Ensure Printer Security

Printers are the most overlooked devices when it comes to security. Given how most business owners consider them as merely internal devices whose sole function is to print documents, it’s no wonder they are a weak spot security-wise.

Whether you use printers in your office or at home, take a moment to see how you can enhance its security before your next printing job.

As cybercriminals are a growing concern, each of us is responsible for protecting our data. Luckily, the tips from this article will help you bring your printer’s security to another level.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

comments powered by Disqus
Administrative Privileges AI AI algorithms AI in Cybersecurity Annual Security Training Anti-Virus Artificial Intelligence Authenticator App Backup and Recovery Backup Redundancy BCDR BEC breach prevention Breach Prevention Platform Breaches business continuity Business Email Compromise Business Email Compromises Business Phone System Business Software BYOD Call Directory Cisco Cloud Accounts Cloud Data Backup Cloud Infrastructure Cloud Security Cloud Solutions Comprehensive Cybersecurity Compromised Credentials computer support Computer Upgrades Conditional Access Credential Theft Cyber Attacks Cyber Criminals Cyber Defenses Cyber Insurance cyber liability insurance Cyber Risk Management Cyberattacks Cyberinsurance cybersecurity Cybersecurity Awareness month Cybersecurity Breach Cybersecurity Culture Cybersecurity Strategy Cybersecurity Training Cybersecurity Webinar Dark Web Dark Web Monitoring Data Backup Data Backup and Recovery Data Backup Solution Data Breach Data Breaches Data Governance Data Management Data Privacy Compliance Data Privacy Regulation data protection Data Recovery Data Restoration Data Security deepfake Deepfakes Defense in Depth Denial of Service Device Security Disaster Recover Disaster Recovery DNS Filtering doug wilson employee cybersecurity training Endpoint Detection and Response field technician Foundation Security Gift Card Scams Hackers Hosted VoIP i.t. service provider Identity Theft incident response plan Incident Response Planning Insider Threats Internet Explorer Internet of Things Intrusion Detection Intrusion Prevention IoT Devices IT Compliance IT Infrastructure IT Myths IT Partner IT Policies IT Resource IT Security IT Service Provider IT Services Juice Jacking Local Admin local admin privileges Lost Devices M365 malware Managed Clients Managed Detection and Response Managed IT managed service provider managed services Manages Services MDR MFA Microsoft Microsoft 356 Microsoft 365 Copilot Microsoft Office Mobile Devices MSP MSP501 Multi-Factor Authentication Network Monitoring Network Security Network Testing New Computer NIST Framework Offboarding Office 365 Outlook Outsourced IT password management Password Manager Password Managers Password Protection password security Passwords Patch Management Patches Patching PC Performance Penetration Testing Personal Data phishing Phishing Attacks PII Proactive Monitoring Processor productivity Professional Tune-Up Public WiFi Push-Bombing RAM Ransomware Ransomware Prevention Recovery point objective Recovery Time Calculator Recovery time objective Remote Monitoring Remote Working repeatbusinesssystems Ring Groups risk assessment Risk Management Risk Tolerance Rock-It VoIP RPO RTO RTO Costs SaaS Scammers Scams security Security Assessment Security Awareness Training Security Defaults Security Key Security Scans SLAM Method Smishing SMS Social Engineering Social Media Security Software-as-a-Service Solid-State Drive Sponsored Google Ads SSD stolen credentials Storage Teams technical support scam technology best practices Technology Management Technology Policies Technology Review Threat Detection Threat Identification Threat Modeling Updates virus VoIP Systems VPN Vulnerabilities Vulnerability Assessment Warning Signs Webinar Windows 8.1 Work Computers World Backup Day