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Secure your printer effectively by using original ink cartridges

It may not seem like it, but connected printers are a security threat, which is why budget-conscious businesses should still only use original manufacture ink cartridges.

Johannesburg, 09 Dec 2021
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Most people, when asked to identify the security threats in their office, would immediately think of computers, tablets, smartphones or similar personal devices. However, few think of something as innocuous as a printer, and even those who do may not consider the security challenge that comes with failing to purchase ink cartridges produced by the original manufacturer.

Printer security doesn’t always get the attention it deserves because these devices are often assumed to be low-risk targets. The fact is, however, that printers are a perfect entry for cyber criminals seeking to launch network-based attacks, since these devices are configured on sensitive parts of a company’s network.

Most modern printers have advanced security features, says Caron De Fortier, HP Printer & Supplies Business Unit Manager at Drive Control Corporation (DCC), but this does not necessarily make them invulnerable to attack. This is particularly true when imitation cartridges are used.

“Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make use of such cartridges due to budgetary reasons, as these products promise the same performance as genuine cartridges for a fraction of the price. However, they should be made aware that non-original cartridges may expose their business to a much higher risk of security breach,” she says. 

As a major distributor of some of the most widely recognised brands of hardware, software, end-user devices and consumables, DCC understands these dangers well.

“Modern printer cartridges contain chips, and those in imitation versions are unlikely to be nearly as secure as HP originals. This means they can be reprogrammed and misused as a vector to infiltrate malware into the printer. Moreover, by using the data interface from the chip to the printer, it becomes possible for hackers to uncover and exploit any existing vulnerabilities within the network.”

“This, in turn, could lead to a cyber criminal launching a denial-of-service (DOS) attack, adding malicious code, or spreading malware into your network. They may even be able to leverage this vulnerability to compromise sensitive business data.”

It is also worth noting, continues De Fortier, that such attacks are not isolated incidents; around one in every 10 security incidents today is print related. What's more, its impact on the business can be huge, with reports suggesting these incidents on average result in 40% less productivity, 39% business downtime, and 34% lost revenue.

“It is very important for budget-conscious SMEs to be made aware of the fact that a small item like an imitation cartridge can inflict large-scale damage on an organisation. Moreover, the benefits of purchasing original manufacture inks and toners from our resellers goes a step beyond even the obvious security advantages.”

Candice Lloyd at The Green Cartridge Company explains that as a DCC reseller, the company offers end customers original cartridges at the best possible price.

“Not only will you make your business more secure by using original HP printer cartridges, but because HP toners and ink are designed specifically for HP printers, you will be guaranteed sustainable, reliable printing and truly professional documents.

“In addition, we will also ensure that any cartridge supplied by us is recycled and kept out of landfills. This is in line with HP’s own commitment to recycling, evidenced by the 875 million cartridges they have already recycled, and the billions of recycled bottles and plastic coat hangers that have been turned into new ones,” Lloyd says.

De Fortier points out that, as is the case with sustainability, HP also focuses on security throughout the supply chain – from chip design to programming and installation, packaging and tracking. This includes tamper-resistant packaging for original cartridges, and proprietary firmware on cartridge chips that cannot be modified or reprogrammed by third parties.

“While we are aware that cost is inevitably a major factor in an SME's IT decision-making process, security should always be of paramount importance. Attacks on SMEs are just as likely as on any other organisation in today’s digitally transforming world, and the impact an attack may have on revenue could be huge.

“This is why we always recommend using original HP cartridges: It is a simple way to eliminate a critical attack vector, strengthen your organisation’s defences and help save the environment at the same time,” concludes De Fortier.

Visit The Green Cartridge Company for more on original HP printer cartridges.

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