How businesses configure and use printers have changed over the last two decades. Today, most printers are easy to set up and no longer require complex port assignments or specialty cables to operate. Modern printers and multifunction devices can now connect to networks, which makes them discoverable to other devices. Although this makes it very convenient for offices, it could also pose a risk to operations.
Cybercrime is on the rise, and business owners should be wary. Any device that connects to the office network could be vulnerable to an attack. This includes printers, copiers, tablets, routers, or computers. What’s concerning is that 56% of companies completely ignore printers as part of their information and network security policies.
How Your Printer is Vulnerable
Printers have evolved over time into sophisticated network equipment. As manufacturers released new features and capabilities, it required more processing power and onboard storage. It wasn’t long before hackers realized that they could exploit printers just like any other device. By writing malware for printers, hackers can infiltrate a company’s information systems and deploy additional malicious software that can bring down the entire network.
Some of the ways printers make offices vulnerable to data theft or cyberattacks include:
● Uncollected prints ending up in the wrong hands.
● Default security settings that make it easy to change the device’s configuration.
● Files saved on the printer’s internal storage that is accessible by unauthorized people.
● Malware that monitors network traffic to and from the device.
Any of these scenarios could lead to a data breach or expose the company’s sensitive information. According to a study by Booz Allen Hamilton in 2016, 61% of companies that suffered a security incident could trace 50% of them back to a printer. One way a company can protect its fleet of printers is with a reliable Managed Print Services provider.
Benefits of Managed Print Services
For companies that need to improve their printer security, Managed Print Services (MPS) can help. No matter the size of the company, an MPS solution will ensure all printers, copiers, and scanners remain secure. An MPS Company will take over the management of the fleet of devices and monitor them remotely. Devices will receive the latest security updates from the manufacturers as they become available, and information sent to and from the equipment will remain encrypted.
While MPS will improve security and can prevent printer hacking, they also provide additional benefits to the organization.
Additional benefits of Managed Print Services include:
● Reduced Costs – MPS Companies provide their services at a single monthly cost and can provide efficient devices to reduce the cost of ownership and operations.
● Better Technologies – MPS solutions will give the company access to modern multifunction devices and consolidate their printing operations with newer technologies.
● Increased Uptimes – The MPS Company will also take care of the printer maintenance and servicing, ensuring they operate reliably.
● Dedicated Support – An MPS company will provide dedicated remote and onsite support to reduce the disruption in the office from a faulty device.
Deciding to move an MPS model for all print operations helps a company streamline its printing workflows and improves its oversight. The MPS solution will monitor devices remotely and ensure the timely restocking of supplies. As the company no longer needs its in-house resources to deal with printing problems, it will also improve productivity in the workplace.
How Hackers Attack Printers
Cybercriminals use a wide variety of strategies to gain access to networks. Any printer connected to the internet and not secured behind a firewall can lead to an attack succeeding. Similarly, if a bad actor gains physical access to a printer, they could deploy an exploit using a USB or thumb-drive. As modern devices have onboard storage, hackers can store malware on the drive and use the unsecured device to penetrate the rest of the network.
This is why using Managed Print Services for security can help organizations ensure they prevent an attack from succeeding. The latest malware exploits are sophisticated bits of software that can encrypt all the information on a network using ransomware. Ransomware attacks continue to plague small and medium businesses, posing an existential threat to companies. About 60% of small to medium-sized companies that suffer a cyberattack go out of business within 6 months.
The Places Where a Printer is Vulnerable
As printers now usually connect to the company network, they remain vulnerable no matter where in the office they are. Even if they remain in a copy room or in the corner of the office, companies should still ensure any unauthorized person doesn’t have access to the device. Setting strong passwords, ensuring all information remains encrypted, and monitoring the print logs can help companies protect their networks and printers from hackers.
For improved network and printer security, Document Solutions Inc. provides comprehensive Managed Print Services solutions. To streamline company operations, ensure devices operate reliably, and improve printer security, DSI has a team of technology experts ready to assist.
To find out more about printer hacking or the benefits of Managed Print Services, reach out to DSI and speak to an expert today.