Think about your office network for a moment. You know hackers would love to get into it if they could. They want your data, and know you might pay a pretty price to have their crippled computers restored. Or maybe it’s not even an organized hacker; maybe it’s just some lone miscreant out to vandalize any corporate web server they can break into. Maybe that web server will be yours.
Your attack vector may be a client computer. An employee could open a malicious email attachment that got through your antivirus net. Maybe a cyber-attack somehow gets through your firewall. Maybe a web app is SQL injected. Maybe there’s an LDAP vulnerability. These incidents happens all the time, even in companies where security is a priority and IT prides itself on its “airtight” network.
IT departments devote considerable time and resources to protecting computers that are connected to the network. In recent years, IT has also been securing mobile devices, specifically the smartphones and tablets employees are now using in the course of their duties.
But what about printers?
According to a recent IDC survey, it leaves them as a potential breach point, with less respondents seeing printer security as being as important as IT security, even if a substantial percentage of significant IT security breaches are coming through printers.
Be honest — how much thought do you give to your network printer? If you’re like many, the answer is “not a lot.” You know print jobs run from client PCs to printers. You know that in order for this to happen, printers need to be connected to a corporate WLAN. And you know your WLAN is internet-connected. It’s likely also connected to your private internal network.
And there you have it — a fat, juicy target for hackers. If they can install malware on your network via a connected printer, they can hurt you in any number of ways, including (but by no means limited to):
- Accessing your critical information
- Launching denial-of-service (DoS) attacks
- Eavesdropping on your network printer traffic
- Retrieving copies of saved documents
This is not a threat that’s going away. If anything — with the ever-expanding use of mobile tech and a growing percentage of professionals working remotely — the threat level is rising. With this in mind, it is vitally important that you take a closer look at your printer as a potential attack site.
The Epson Enterprise Guide to Securing Printers provides considerations for improving printer security across modern business printers and common printing practices. Among the topics covered in this free but invaluable publication:
- Managing the conflict between business productivity and IT security – a quick look at the technological advancements that have led to printers becoming essentially powerful computers (and therefore, more ready targets for hackers)
- A pragmatic approach to securing enterprise printers – including the categories of security threats to printers, and a review of printer security vulnerabilities
- A checklist for securing printers – including common security concepts, issues, and safeguards relevant to printers
- Considerations in the areas of network, data, user identity and access management (IAM), and user monitoring