Can your printer or multifunction device be hacked? The short answer is yes.
In fact, printers are a prime target of hackers.
Despite this, the common stereotype of a computer hack is when a hacker who gets into a computer or a website and puts a funny message up on a screen demanding a ransom payment to release the computer from the cyberattacker’s clutches.
For this reason, you might not realize that the most vulnerable device in your office may very well be the printer, not the computer. Printers are often an overlooked security hole in many businesses and organizations.
If printers, copiers, and multifunction devices aren’t properly vetted and protected against cyberattackers, the results could be potentially disastrous for businesses large and small, as well as nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.
Why Do Hackers Target Printers?
You may wonder what would happen if a wily and determined hacker attacked your office printer. Would they just print out nasty messages on paper? Well, they could, but it’s much worse than that.
Your printer is a gateway to the rest of your network, assuming the printer is network connected. Because printers are a weak spot in many networks, hackers often target them as a way to get to the computers and other servers.
Modern-day multifunction printers (MFPs) are also massive workhorses at many offices, printing not only internal memos but often confidential documents that contain important information about clients and customers, such as financial data, personal health history, or even credit card information. If this information is not secured, a hacker could get to it, and this could be disastrous.
What Are Common Ways Printers Get Hacked?
As already mentioned, hackers often get into printers via the Internet and many office printers are connected directly to the Internet. Many if not almost all printers these days are also equipped with Wi-Fi, and so Wi-Fi is all very easy way for a hacker to gain access to a computer.
Of course, some of these types of Wi-Fi hacks may require the hacker being in physical proximity to the printer, as opposed to coming in through the Internet from across the globe. But both onsite and global security needs to be considered and addressed. There are bad actors everywhere.
Once in the printer, the hacker might then travel through the office network to connected computers and set-up ransomware to extort money from the business.
A printer might also be used as an entry point for denial-of-service attack, which is when a hacker or group of hackers floods an Internet connected device with traffic requests and pings. A denial-of-service attack can end up creating a massive bottleneck and dramatically shut down servers and databases.
How Can Printers Be Protected From Hackers?
Printer device endpoint security is very important and should be a major part of any printer cyber protection strategy. This means that the printer should be protected by a firewall ideally, and Wi-Fi access should be restricted if not entirely eliminated in certain cases.
In many offices, old printers may simply be too prone to cyberattacks and should be replaced. You can now purchase printers that come with onboard security technology that keep printers and associated printer data safer.
Printer access controls can and should be implemented, which can enable pull printing. Pull printing is when a document is sent to the printer but cannot be printed out until an authorized person arrives at the printer and uses a passcode or biometric scan to retrieve the document.
Print management software can also be leveraged to monitor and detect suspicious behavior. Continually monitoring the print fleet is extremely important to reduce and mitigate cyberattacks.
Do Your Business Printers Need a Cybersecurity Overhaul? Managed Print Services Can Help
If you think your printer might be runnable to cyberattacks, then you should take immediate action on securing them. If you are not sure, then chances are, your printers are very vulnerable. Perry proTECH is a Managed Print Services provider with extensive knowledge and hands on experience and printer cybersecurity.
We know how to spot vulnerabilities in a printer fleet and network, secure those weak spots, and institute robust ongoing service security and risk mitigation measures to protect your business. We will start with a comprehensive assessment to review where hackers might be trying to gain entry.
Perry proTECH can also help in upgrading to better printer equipment that comes with the right security features for your business. Contact us today to get started with a consultation with our exceptional printer service security experts.
Perry proTECH is a Managed Print Services provider that has been delivering solutions to businesses and organizations of all sizes since 1965. Contact us today to schedule a consultation where we can review your printer fleet cybersecurity and vulnerabilities via an in-depth print assessment and analysis.