Printer and Network Security

Printer and Network Security

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How do attackers use copiers and printers to their advantage

Some of the most common ways that hackers use unsecured or poorly-secured network devices include:

  • Hijacking documents sent to wireless mutifunction machines and printers, and re-routing those documents to an off-site printer or hard drive

  • Accessing data stored on the hard drive built into the copier

  • Flooding the printer with material designed to disrupt your business, or worse yet, blackmail your company into paying a ransom

  • Using your copiers or printers as a virtual ‘back door’ through which they can gain access to the rest of your IT system

In fact, a recent worldwide campaign to promote a Swedish YouTube star turned into one of the most notorious cases of printer hijacking to date. Fanatical followers of Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg managed to successfully hack into a number of printer networks, using that access to send out unsolicited documents asking unsuspecting recipients to support PewDiePie’s race to become the most subscribed channel on YouTube. While this case didn’t actually cause anyone harm, it does highlight the security vulnerabilities that many network-connected printers currently have.

How can I secure my copiers, printers and multifunction machines on my network?

The good news is that there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce the chances that your peripherals will be targeted by a cyber-attack – here’s how:

Disconnect your devices from the internet.

Internet-connected devices provide hackers with the best chance of infiltrating your network – removing your printers, copiers and multifunction machines from your internet connection can go a long way towards improving the security of your network.

Regularly erase the hard drive.

Today’s digital printers and copiers all have built-in hard drives that store data that hackers can use. Keeping your periphial’s hard drives cleaned off on a regular basis is a critical part of keeping that data safe and secure.

Be sure to regularly update the firmware on your machines.