Are your printers vulnerable to a cyber attack?

Your printing devices connect to nearly every device in your corporate network, and most printers are not designed with cybersecurity in mind.

Johannesburg, 17 Jul 2019
Read time 3min 00sec

This question often comes up, and the answer is: Yes. Your printing devices connect to nearly every device in your corporate network, and most printers are not even designed with cybersecurity in mind. If hackers are hungry enough for information, they will use any possible way to get “inside’’ your network. Their intention is to get access and control of your printer and, from there, your network. If they have access to the network, they will have control over your data.

The hackers want data that contains sensitive information that they can use to harm your company financially or place malicious software on your network to bring your business to its knees, harming your company’s IT infrastructure.

There are multiple software programs that can conduct searches of Internet-connected devices and specific devices with security flaws, giving you a starting point in securing your devices.

What are the vulnerabilities for your devices?

Document security and theft

Sensitive printed data left for all to see can potentially end up in the wrong hands, resulting in a breach of the GDPR and the POPI Act, and ultimately lead to fines that can cause reputational damage to a business.

Device settings and device theft

Non-secure device settings and controls can lead to intentional/accidental rerouted print jobs, a data breach through accessing saved copies of documents or resetting a device to factory defaults, wiping all previous settings. If a device has been stolen, there is a great risk that stored print jobs, scans, copies and faxes can be recovered from the internal disk drive.

Network security

Hackers can “eavesdrop” on network traffic and capture documents sent from computers to printing devices, or hack into network-protected devices if they are not password protected.

So, how do you secure your printing devices?

Password protected

Make sure your printer is password protected. Most network printers can be accessed remotely. Change the default password!

Network security

Make sure your network is protected by having firewalls in place that will protect you from outside access and WiFi access.

Secure your data

Make sure that you have a good encryption in place when sending a print job to your printer (like AES 128, for example). You can also secure your print jobs by enabling secure release on the device. This will keep your print job on the print server until you securely release at the device. There are multiple applications that can assist with this, such as nddPrint 360, PaperCut, Y-Soft and Equitrack, to name a few.

Finally, as with all cyber risks, it’s important to acknowledge that security technology can only go so far. Organisations can have state-of-the-art security systems/processes in place, but reducing the threats still comes down to the people who are using those tools.

Why not book a free POC (Proof of Concept) for your business, where Green Office installs the nddPrint/PaperCut software on your devices for a month, tests and reports on findings? If you are satisfied with the reported findings, the company can submit a proposal and deploy. To book a free POC, contact a Green Office consultant for more information on how the company can help you protect your devices and data.

Editorial contacts
Green Office Aemey Van Dijl (+27) 031 702 3050