Printers are one of the most overlooked devices when it comes to cybersecurity. While people know to secure their computers––protecting them with firewalls and anti-virus software––they will overlook one of the most connected devices in their office, their printer.
With the continuous advancements in technology, printers now have a vast array of features, including connectivity to the cloud and to your mobile devices. They have become the hub for many offices, keeping remote teams connected and ensuring productivity doesn’t dip. Since all these devices are connected to your printer, not securing it could have devastating effects on your company.
Securing your printer is a necessity that shouldn’t be forgotten about. Cybercriminals know that it’s the last place you’ll look––and so it’s the first place they’re going to try to break in through.
The Dangers of Unsecured Printers
If a cybercriminal manages to get through your printer’s security (or lack thereof) then your company could be in big trouble! A team of experts at CyberNews devised an experiment to test just how lax people are with their printers’ security. As it turns out––extremely! They were able to hack almost 28,000 printers (CyberNews, 2020). But they could have targeted even more of those printers.
There were approximately 500,000 printers available to them as targets (CyberNews, 2020). Yet even after releasing this report and trying to encourage safer printing practices, companies didn’t seem to take it seriously enough.
Companies big and small are affected by cyberattacks, with cybercriminals able to sneak in through unchecked and unlocked printers. From there, they can crawl through to other devices––like a spider weaving its web. These attacks then become super costly for companies! A report released in 2022 by Statista said that 71% of companies around the world were affected by a ransomware attack (Statista, 2022).
With ransomware on the rise year-over-year since 2021 (Verizon, 2022), it’s time to start fighting back and securing all the possible routes for a cyberattack––including your printer!
How to Best Secure Your Printer
There are several steps you can take to ensure your printer is as secure as possible.
- We recommend first choosing a printer that comes with pre-installed security features: There are many options available on the market, but some stand out among the rest. Be sure to do your research and find the printer that will work best for your team that also comes with the latest in security features.
- Update your printer as soon as firmware patches are released: It might be tempting to put off your printer’s updates but trust us when we say it’s best to get the update out of the way. Most patches come with fixes to possible security vulnerabilities. As soon as you see an update, it is best deal with this right away. If you really don’t have time for it in that moment, be sure to set up a reminder to check back and install it, or you can work with external MPS experts like SmartPrint to manage this for you.
- Create a strong password: Printer passwords are often overlooked (or just not known about!) But they will offer your printer and all the devices connected to it that extra layer of protection. Try choosing a phrasal format password that includes both numbers and special characters in it.
- Check with experts that you’re doing everything right: Whether it’s your IT team or external experts (such as our team!), be sure that you double-check with security experts. You might think that you’ve installed everything correctly and left nothing to chance, but all it takes is one small mistake to unleash a wave of catastrophe for your team. Experts will be able to go one step further and can ensure that your printer’s security features and device configurations have all been updated and properly locked down.
Pairing these tips with other layers of added protection (such as follow-me printing) will keep your private data safe. Be sure to include printer security measures in your future briefings about cybersecurity and teach your team how to spot the subtle red flags that something could be wrong.
Want to learn more about how your team can update their printer security and outsource the firmware updates to your printer fleet? Reach out today to speak with our print experts. We can help you protect your data and teach you how to better secure your devices.