How Your Printer Can Leave Your Business At Risk

There are hundreds of millions of business printers in the world. Less than 2% of them are properly secured leaving them at risk. 

Printers and multi-functions make up an essential part of your network. They're always on, always connected and are often overlooked as being another computer with a method of entry into your business. 

Are your company files on the same network as your printers? If so, it's time to start thinking about printer security.

The Wolf

Below is a video created by HP to help bring awareness to printer and network security. Make sure you watch all four parts.

The Wolf explains just how quick and easy it is for an intruder to gain crucial insight into your network. With just a simple print job, malware can be placed within various areas of your infrastructure without raising as much as an eyebrow.

Because printers are installed and left to do their daily tasks they are the perfect method of entry for a hacker. By bypassing firewalls, authentication, network security rules and policies your printer leaves holes in your network, because it's "easier" to just plug and play than to ensure your security.

Reality

Earlier this year, a hacker by the name of "stackoverflowin" took over more than 150,000 printers.

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His process was easy. Almost every printer uses port 9100 as a channel on the network to receive data to be printed out. Many businesses simply "plug and play" their printers, so they presented a perfect vulnerability. All he had to do was send a bit of data to those ports across the Internet and he got over 150,000 responses from printers all over the world. He  then sent a second message to every printer he found, and they printed out a warning with his art attached.

Fortunately, his intentions were to raise awareness of the dire situation of printer security, and only printed out a small "notice" to each printer. It could have been a lot worse, especially to those businesses that rely on printing to process transactions or present proposals. 

But it's even easier than that. Your business may operate a wireless hotspot for guests, or allow visitors to connect to your network. We never think of printers as a security hole, because all they seem to do is press ink and toner onto paper, but they're actually computers with operating systems running on your network. All it takes is one person with ill-intentions to send a malicious print job, or an email to one of your employees with a malicious PDF, and your entire business could become compromised within minutes. 

The reality is, it's not just a printer they want to hack, it's your business. Many businesses do not think they will be a target, but the truth is most hackers will do something "just because they can".

That's where we come in

As the "Internet of Things" evolves around us, it's important to remember how we must secure our networks from intruders, even if it means taking a bit of extra time setting things up right. Think Concepts can provide your business the attention it deserves to set printers and multi-functions up correctly, the first time. Because on the Internet, there's no second chances.

HP printers reduce the surface of attack within your network by employing proactive security measures. We can supply PageWide Enterprise Colour and Mono Laser printers with these features built in, install them with the level of security your business requires, set up additional functionality such as per-user print authentication, firewall lists and intrusion detection, and can even monitor your network remotely to protect against unexpected attacks and faults.