In December 2018, thousands of printers around the world randomly printed documents urging people to subscribe to a well-known YouTube channel. A hacker named @HackerGiraffe launched a worldwide attack by searching a list of publicly available printers with their ports open, writing a simple script to hack them and launched it, affecting over 50,000 printers worldwide.
Your networked printer is often an overlooked element of your security strategy. Hackers know this and often target this weak link. Fortunately, the @HackerGiraffe attack was benign, but it shone a spotlight on the issue of printer security.
Printer Security is a Must!
Your printer is basically another computer on your network. It has network access, internet capability, and a hard drive. Typically, anyone with network access can access the device.
3 Steps to Print Security
Like any other network device that is online and inadequately protected, your printer is an open door to your entire network. It can be hacked, infected with malware or highjacked for denial of service attacks.
Every business regardless of size is at risk today. Here are three steps to secure your print environment.
Step 1: Assess
Start by taking a look at your network. Map every device and make sure data is secure at every stage of the workflow. Control access to the printer and always include printers in your security policies.
Step 2: Deploy
Use every available tool to protect sensitive information. This includes both cybersecurity and print management software. Update your printers regularly to keep on top of new security releases, password protect your device, implement user-access controls to discourage unwanted users, and always install the manufacturer’s security software.
Step 3: Secure Your People
Familiarize your team with everything your printers can do and explain the importance of your security measures. Use “at device” authentication to ensure jobs are only printed when the user is at the device. This keeps confidential information from sitting in printer tray, unretrieved.