With cyber security, most businesses – quite understandably - tend to focus on computers. But one major security gap businesses overlook is their printers - they can even be a GDPR blind spot. Below we’ll outline how you can protect against this vulnerability, among the many other gaps in a business' cyber security. But first, let’s outline the danger in more detail.
How print security can be bypassed
Hackers can take advantage of open security ports in WiFi networks. These ports make certain information public – namely which WiFi network a device is connected to. Once access is gained hackers can easily execute a wide range of disruptive actions. This is best illustrated by a recent experiment by the team at CyberNews. Using Internet of Things search engines they found over 800,000 printers that had internet accessible network printing features. They selected a sample of 50,000 printers and using a custom printing script, forced 27,944 printers to print out PDF documents.
How to improve your print security
UPnP stands for Universal Plug and Play. It’s a common feature on many internet routers. It permits unauthenticated communication between networked devices. This is great for smoother operating between network devices but its open door policy will mean that hackers can connect to your WiFi far too easily. Disable the UPnP on your router and your printers will have a formal yes/no approval system between them and cyber criminals.
Ensuring a Firewall is on all your printers
Many businesses will assume that firewalls are only for their computer but as with all your devices, a firewall can filter out unwanted traffic. Printers have computing systems within them too – albeit much simpler – so ensure you install and regularly update your printer firewall as you would do with any other device.
Installing malware defences
On top of firewalls, it’s wise to install malware protection devices. These will monitor threats during a printer’s startup and potentially shut down the device in the event of danger; a valuable last resort for preventing the spread of viruses to other network devices.
Hard drive encryption
Since printers are computers too, with their own simplified hard drives, they’re all too capable of storing the confidential information your team sends through it; awaiting hackers’ preying eyes. Encryption scrambles data by turning it into code that’s meaningless to any hacker. So, if your printer handles any sensitive documents, ensure its hard drive is encrypted.
Thanks to the growth of remote work, plenty of businesses are starting to get up to speed on cyber security. But this isn’t the case across the board, and as cyber security threats develop, businesses need to ensure they’re one step ahead. Printer security is a prime example of a threat many businesses would never have considered; just the kind of thing cyber criminals are hoping for. Whilst something like vulnerability assessment and monitoring can help your business uncover any issues before they become issues, managed print security can give your printers the full belt and braces approach. It falls under our range of cyber security services packages. Talk to an expert about managed print security and all the ways your business can be protected.
Your company’s cyber security position can be rapidly improved with the help of our free, 30-minute no-obligation cyber security consultation. Book a cyber security consultation now and we can begin establishing a robust defence for your organisation.