Printers have been around since the late 60s, back then you would have to plug your device into the device to be able to print. Nowadays all you need is a shared network. As convenient as this is, it comes with cyber security risks. In August 2020 CyberNews ran an experiment to raise awareness of the vulnerability’s printers pose to cyber and data security. They successfully hacked 28,000 printers, displaying how much printers are overlooked when it comes to cybersecurity.
So, what makes your printer so vulnerable?
A printer has an internal disk drive, this stores any information about previously printed documents, photocopies, or scans. This means that without proper cyber security and vigilance you leave your data available for cybercriminals to access and use. Like with your other devices, a printer’s software needs to be updated regularly to ensure it is equipped with the most up to date software and security. Unfortunately, printers (especially home printers) are often overlooked. As a result, hackers will opt to target these instead of other more secure devices. Another cause for concern is if your printer is connected to your network. This allows any hackers who have successfully gained access to your printer to seek out other devices connected to the same network, for instance your computer or phone. From there they will attempt to gain access to more desirable data and information. This is a common concern for any device that falls under the category of Internet of Things (IoT). A good way to combat this is by selecting not to make your machine discoverable to other devices on the same network.
How can I protect my Printer against Cyber security vulnerabilities?
There are two important ways you can ensure your printer is the most secure it can be against cyber-attacks.
Update your printers
- Manufacturers develop updates in order to reinforce their printing software and security. By not updating your printer software when updates or patches are available leaves your printer open to cyber breaches.
- Like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi direct creates a direct connection from device to device creating its own network, which can be a security risk. Check if your printer has this option available and disable this.
With everyone focused on cyber security and being cyber safe from a business perspective, we will often focus on devices like a computer or mobile phone. It is very easy to overlook the risks and your printer could leave you exposed. If you are concerned about the security of your printer, we can help. Bluebell IT Solutions has over 20 years of experience in cyber security including printer security. Contact us today or call us on 01908 044202 to talk to an expert about your printer’s security.