Printers Are A Security Risk To Your Business

Printers Are A Security Risk To Your Business


Most offices nowadays use a range of technologies to meet their internal and external needs. Standard devices include computers, telephones, televisions, speakers, fax machines, printers, and much more. As technology has evolved, these peripheral devices have all become connected to the internet. Once upon a time your phone was just a phone, but now you can set up your cell phone as an extension, have voicemails sent to your email, and easily record and upload new audio greetings to inform your clients about new promotions, holiday hours, or any changes to your services that they might need to be aware of.

Internet connected devices are part of The Internet of Things (IoT) and can offer your business a lot of benefits – including increases productivity and, ultimately, profitability. Unfortunately, everything has its drawbacks and IoT is no different. The more things you have connected to the internet, the more points of vulnerability.

Printers for one, are usually given very little thought when people think about the security of their network. Most people use printers without monitoring them, and when it comes time to upgrade, or replace it, they throw it in the trash, or leave it on the side of the road. If that sounds like you, then your company is being exposed to unnecessary security risks.

Printers and other internet connected devices hold a lot of sensitive company data. Many people don’t know this, but printers have storage capabilities, and often hold every single document that has been printed or sent to the printer. Even scarier, if your printer is connected to your email, then hackers have a perfect point of entry to gain access to any confidential information found in your email. That’s why its so important that your printer is monitored and disposed of properly.

If security is a major concern for your business, then its important that you don’t overlook the vulnerabilities and threats that come with network printing. Some additional security risks include:

  • Unauthorized access to print data: An unauthorized person can walks over to the printer and gain access to documents. This is a physical security hole, but nonetheless still needs to be considered.
  • Unauthorized configuration changes: A hacker can log in to your printer to configure it to route print jobs somewhere else – outside of your own network.
  • Print job manipulation: The content being sent to the printer is replaced with new content. Additionally, print jobs and logs could be compromised. This can range from a simple frank, all the way up to serious business malfunctions.
  • Print data disclosure: A cyber criminal can gain access to the printer’s memory, file system, print jobs, and hard drives when it is decommissioned. This ultimately gives the hacker access to a wealth of confidential data.
  • Printer as an attack point: Your printer can be used as an entry point to attack and compromise other devices. This can be done through malicious codes that a cyber criminal would send from the printer
  • Cloud printing risks: Because your print job is being done through public infrastructure, it is susceptible to middleman attacks, or someone trying to gain access to the enterprise network.

To protect your business, you must secure your printer. Your first steps should be:

  1. Changing your passwords regularly,
  2. Updating your printer’s operating system,
  3. Turning on authentication
  4. And disabling any services that are not currently in use

To determine if your business network and printers are protected, call us now at (416) 966-3306 to schedule a Network Assessment.