In today's digitally connected world, ensuring the security of your company's IT infrastructure is a top priority. However, many businesses overlook the potential security dangers of their copiers and printers, leaving them exposed to copier security hackers.
In this blog post, we explore real-life examples of copier and printer security breaches. We discuss their effects on businesses and provide actionable tips to prevent such incidents from occurring.
By implementing these strategies, you can better protect your organization from falling victim to copier and printer-related cyberattacks.
Real-World Examples of Copier Security Disasters
The Law Firm Data Breach
In 2017, a prestigious law firm suffered a significant data breach when its networked printers were compromised. Hackers were able to take advantage of a weakness in the printers' firmware. They gained access to confidential client documents, including sensitive financial and legal information. The breach resulted in a loss of client trust, tarnished the firm's reputation, and led to costly lawsuits.
The Healthcare Provider's Ransomware Attack
A large healthcare provider fell victim to a ransomware attack in 2018, which originated from an unsecured networked copier. The attackers gained access to the copier's hard drive and encrypted the stored data, demanding a substantial ransom for its release. The healthcare provider was forced to shut down its IT systems temporarily. This caused significant and dangerous disruptions to patient care and resulted in financial losses.
These types of cyber security incidents could happen to any business with unsecured printers. In 2017, one hacker wrote a script to find printers with open internet connections. He deployed this script around the world and was able to gain access to over 160,000 printers.
Thankfully, his attack was not malicious. He simply forced the printers to print a warning page notifying the owner of their exposure. Printers manufacturers that were hacked included Konica Minolta, Brother, Epson HP and Samsung. While the attack was innocuous, the breadth showed that any printer connected to the internet has to be secured.
Best Practices to Prevent Copier and Printer Security Breaches
Your company likely has a cyber security plan in place to prevent attacks. Here are seven things you can include to add copier and printer security to that plan.
- Regular Firmware Updates and Security Patches: Ensure your copiers and printers have the latest firmware updates and security patches installed. Manufacturers frequently release updates to address known issues, making it crucial to keep your devices up to date.
- Set up User Authentication: With user authentication, you can ensure that only authorized employees can access your printers and copiers. There are several options for authentication including PIN codes, ID card scanners or biometrics.
- Enable Data Encryption: Protect the sensitive data stored on your copier and printer hard drives by enabling data encryption. Data encryption converts your readable data into a coded format. If your data was somehow stolen, it will be unreadable unless the person has the encryption key.
- Implement Secure Print Release: Secure print release requires users to provide credentials to release jobs to print. This prevents unauthorized access to sensitive documents.
- Conduct Regular Security Assessments: Perform periodic assessments of your copier and printer security to identify potential weaknesses and address them proactively.
- Work with a Managed Print Services (MPS) Provider: Aa reputable MPS provider can help you optimize and secure your print environment. MPS providers have the expertise to assess your current setup, identify potential risks and implement security measures tailored to your specific needs.
- Train Employees on Print Security Best Practices: Develop and enforce a comprehensive print security policy. Educate your employees on the importance of following these guidelines. This includes measures such as not leaving sensitive documents unattended at the printer and immediately reporting any suspicious activity.
- Change the Default Password on Your Device: Printers and copiers often come with a default password to access administrative controls. A quick Google search by a bad actor can reveal those passwords. By changing the default password, you ensure that the device is secure.
Copier and printer security breaches can have severe consequences for businesses, from financial losses to damage to their reputations. Understanding the risks and taking proactive measures can protect organizations from falling victim to such cyberattacks.
Partnering with a Managed Print Services provider takes the responsibility for print management off your IT team. This frees them up to do business-critical work. Your MPS provider will stay current with the latest security features and safeguard your print fleet to maintain a secure and efficient work environment.
Fraser Advanced Information Systems is the region's leading managed print services provider. We work with your business to create a print plan to ensure a secure fleet. We will also work to save your business up to 20% on your current printing costs. Contact us today for a free managed print assessment.