Hackers are increasingly becoming more sophisticated and clandestine in their subterfuge ploys to steal pertinent company Intel, with many now targeting seemingly innocuous office supplies such as printers. In fact, because many business owners don’t give printers much thought, over half of them actually forget to secure their printers when they devise a seemingly foolproof security strategy for their enterprise. Many hackers know this and take advantage of this cursory omission and faux pas by targeting vulnerable printers in offices.
In fact, 60% of businesses have suffered from a data breach via a networked printer in their office. As can be seen, data breaches via networked printers happen more often than not, and if you fail to secure your networked printer system then you are basically placing a welcome mat for hackers to walk past so that they can abscond with your company’s most valuable and sensitive information. Furthermore, these data breaches can take months to rectify, with damages to a company’s reputation often being irreversible. In fact, the average time it took to remedy a data breach was 46 days. Here, we discuss some of the main reasons why hackers are now targeting office printers to steal or manipulate company data.
They Want Your Data For Nefarious Purposes
A hacker may decide to take the easy way and enter your network via an office printer that has been left unprotected. Then, once they have obtained access to your company’s network via your printer they will then be able to steal virtually any data that they desire. Examples may include sensitive client information, such as credit card numbers, passwords, addresses, and social security numbers, or personal employee information, such as payroll and tax data.
With many multinational conglomerates like Sony and Microsoft being targeted by hackers, any business, regardless of size, can be the target of a hacker or a cabal of hackers. As such, it is highly recommended that you do everything in your power to ensure that your printers are protected with the safeguards needed to ward off any hacking attempts by Machiavellian hackers.
They Are Adamant on Attacking Your Technology
Some hackers just want to see the world burn, so to speak. For such hackers, creating pandemonium is the prime objective, and they will do everything in their power to wreak havoc within your organization. For instance, they may manipulate your printers so that they start printing random jobs, or they may start sending salacious faxes without your authorized consent.
They may also start changing settings to create mass confusion and hysteria, drastically reducing productivity and employee morale. In some cases, former employees may become disgruntled cybercriminals and may try and exact revenge on your company by attacking your technology via a proxy war of sorts. As such, taking the necessary measures to protect your entire organization’s networking systems is of the utmost importance.
They Are Preoccupied With Accessing Your Network
You can think of your printer as an access point that hackers can take advantage of if it is left unguarded or unsecured. In fact, any device that is connected to your network can serve as an access point for hackers to penetrate: It is for this reason that securing every single access point within your organization is of paramount importance. A printer, in particular, serves as the quintessential access point for a former disgruntled worker or a tech-savvy hacker to take advantage of.
In fact, your printer can be a significant security risk even when sophisticated hacking methods are not employed. For instance, many lackadaisical employees often leave highly classified documents in a printer tray, which anyone within the organization can easily get a hold of. In sum, the only way to properly secure all of the printers within your network is to secure them with state of the art managed IT services.
How To Protect Your Printers
Every networked printer within your organization should be locked down via reliable firewalls. Any superfluous protocols should be disabled in the briefest delay, and default passwords should be changed as soon as possible. Furthermore, when the manufacturer of your printers discovers and reports any security vulnerabilities then you should respond by updating the firmware of your printers immediately. You should also check back on a regular basis to ensure that any hard resets, if applicable, have not inadvertently restored default passwords and/or open ports.
Implement Secure Pull-Printing Technology
In addition, you should try and introduce pull-printing technology that is secure into your network of printers. Secure pull-printing consists of printing to a queue that is secure, whereby workers will either use their login information or their personal identification card to “pull” or release their documents from any one of the networked printers in your office: This is in stark contrast to the antiquated, conventional way of printing documents in an office, whereby an employee would send a print job to a given printer for immediate output purposes, which would leave the printer vulnerable to hacking.
Also, confidential documents should never be left unattended. Any data that may fall into the wrong hands must be secured properly or be shredded immediately to protect valuable company Intel. More often than not documents are printed and subsequently forgotten, which may allow a hacker to easily steal the company data for personal gain. The key to protecting such data is to carefully secure and monitor your printing workflows using managed print services.