Printers are a common sight in offices. But did you know they can be a cybersecurity risk? Just like computers, your printers, copiers, and other devices are potential targets of hackers.
What Makes Printers a Risk?
When a printer does a job, it stores data in its queue. This data is vulnerable if someone hacks into the printer’s operating system. Also, if you send a document to a printer wirelessly, it can be intercepted. Some printers can also connect to the internet, which means hackers can take them over remotely if not correctly secured.
Printer Threats You Might Not Know About
Researchers at Canon found a specific risk related to old printers. Getting rid of an old printer without first deleting Wi-Fi data could lead to a cyberattack. The printer might still store sensitive information, like passwords and IP addresses. Someone who gets a hold of the old printer could use this information to access your network. Canon found this flaw in about 200 of their inkjet, business inkjet, and large-format inkjet printers.
How to Keep Your Business Safe
- Consult Your Printer Manual: Before parting with a printer, refer to the user manual for steps on erasing stored data, especially Wi-Fi settings.
- Regular Updates: Ensure your printer software is up-to-date; manufacturers may release patches for known vulnerabilities.
- Limit Printer Access: Only allow trusted employees to access the printer, using authentication like passwords.
- Employee Awareness: Briefly train staff about the security risks associated with printers emphasizing caution with sensitive data.
- Disposal Protocol: Develop a consistent approach for disposing of old printers, emphasizing data clearance.
Include Printers in Your IT Plan
Remember printers when developing a plan to keep your IT system safe. They can be weak points that hackers could take advantage of. Regularly maintain your printers and reset Wi-Fi settings to keep them safe.
Printer Security, an Integral Part of Your Cybersecurity
Even though printers might not seem like a big deal, they’re vital to your business’s cybersecurity. They need to be updated and secure to keep your business safe. Awareness of the risks and safeguarding your printers can make your IT system much safer.