Most people with a bit of computer knowledge will agree that firewalls, anti-virus software, and strong passwords are important for protecting work computers. This is a basic tenet of IT & network management for protecting the data of a company. However, many people just stop at computers and don’t consider extending that level of protection to things like router or printer security. In fact, one of the most often exposed peripheral equipment is actually networked printers. Most people even some IT officers think nothing more of a printer than a copy machine. That is the biggest mistake says some of the top IT security experts. Printers in their opinion should be treated with as much importance as servers or workstations and managed by a seasoned IT technician, not an entry level hardware installer. When you begin to think what information printers receive and the access to the network they have, that sentiment makes sense for several reasons:
Printers Receive and Transmit Sensitive Data
Think about it, when you are printing that confidential internal memo, you are sending that over the network to your printer. If your printer security is non-existent or weak, any average hacker can compromise that printer to forward anything printed from it. They now would have extremely sensitive documents, possible identity breaches and more. When a document is sent to a printer it is temporarily stored in the printer’s memory until it is no longer needed or flushed by the next print job needing that memory space. It doesn’t take much to retrieve that data, especially if printer security is lax or there is none at all.
Printers Offer A Glimpse Of Your Entire Network
If printer security is breached it can be used to literally map out your entire internal network and that information can be used to facilitate future attacks. Attacks could be malicious, or even juvenile in nature such as practical jokes or harassment. In one company example, a hacker sent out fake memos advising of an office closure the following week. Many employees took the memo at its word and did not show up for work, creating a huge backlog. Some companies, however, experience far greater threats.
Most IT Departments are Lax on Printer Security
The biggest reason why printer hacking is so successful is that many IT departments overlook the software and firmware updates for printers. Overall printers are still seen as non-targets when really in the mind of a hacker they are the first targets. It will give you an idea of the level of security of an IT network by how well the printer is secured. Think about it, if you put that much effort into locking down something seemingly as simple as a printer, then everything is probably pretty tight.
Trust Marimon With Your Printers
At Marimon, with our managed printer services, we make sure all software updates and security patches are maintained and printer security is set at its highest level, to prevent any leak of sensitive data or access to the system. Contact us today for an in- depth network consultation!