Security is Critical

Secure Technology

Security is Critical to Every Business, Even for Your Printers

  • “There are over 130 large-scale, targeted breaches in the U.S. per year, and that number is growing by 27 percent per year” – Accenture
  • “Between January 1, 2005 and April 18, 2018 there have been 8,854 recorded breaches.” – ID Theft Resources Center
  • “62% of IT security professionals are not confident they can protect printer data” – Ponemon Institute
  • “60% believe a data breach involving a network-connected printer has happened at their organization” – Ponemon Institute

What You Need to Know

Recently, a research Institute, Check Point Research, was able to gain access using a phone line to send a fax that could take full control over a Hewlett Packard all-in-one printer, and later spread a payload inside the computer network accessible to the printer. This confirms a growing fear that hackers are indeed targeting connected printing devices.

Here are 3 things you can look at to increase security in your printing infrastructure:

1. Do you have secure print release software enabled?

On average an office worker prints 10,000 pages per year, at an average cost of $725. This happens because of a very common problem that is easily fixed but often times never addressed. Many organizations have a print on demand environment, where an employee submits a print job and it routes to a printer without any systems or controls. However, 20% of the time the prints are never retrieved by the person who submitted the print. Not only is this a waste of money, paper, and bad for the environment, it is also a big security risk!

2. Are your network printing devices protected against viruses and trojan horses?

Everybody knows that viruses can come in via email. A lot of these viruses are blocked, but some of them can get through. As hackers become more sophisticated and confidentially becomes more challenging we have to think differently about how we protect the data and not just on computers, but also on our printers.

A hacker sends an email into your network with a virus embedded in a PDF attachment. One of your employees opens and prints the document to your multi-function device. Most devices are not protected against this type of attack and as a result, a data breach will occur. These types of attacks can be prevented with whitelisting and multi-function devices with smart security software embedded.

3. Are your default passwords changed on your network connected printers?

Something extremely easy but often overlooked upon installation of a new device is the default password. When you receive a new device, most people hook it up to their network and start printing to it right away. However, think about it the same way you think about your Wi-Fi network. Do you leave your network at home open? Do you change the password after installation? The same logic applies to printers. They come standard with default passwords that most of the time are never changed. This gives anybody in your organization the ability to log into the admin portal of your printing device and do whatever they want!

So how do you protect yourself against these forthcoming data breaches?

  1. MRC Print Security Assessment
  2. Xerox ConnectKey Technology
  3. McAfee Embedded Control Technology

Have you thought about how this could be exploited across your entire organization, and not just with printing, but with faxing and scanning too? What would a data breach like the one described above cost your organization? Can your organization afford not to protect your devices against these types of breaches?

Printing can not only be expensive but also poses security threats. When an employee prints a document they’re potentially offering up confidential data that can be easily dispersed to anybody. Accountability on what people print not only drives a decrease in the amount of printing, but also protects your organization from employees sharing confidential information. Having an assessment done on printing security is one of the easiest ways to identify holes and vulnerabilities in your organizations’ printing environment.


Jeff Mason
Senior Vice President of Sales and Service
Leadership Bio   

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