Five Tips to Reduce Printer Security Issues


Many businesses do not regard printers and multifunction devices as IoT equipment. As a result, hackers can quickly access your company network using printers connected directly to the internet. Unsecured office printers and multifunction printers expose your company to data breaches, malware, and compliance issues. This post will address the main problems with printer security and how to fix them.

In March, the hacking group Anonymous hacked hundreds of printers in Russia to spread anti-propaganda information about the war in Ukraine. They printed thousands of pages filled with messaging about the war that is not legal to discuss in Russia. They also provided information on bypassing censorship in Russia by using the Tor browser.

Securing your business from cyberattacks is critical, with security breaches at historically high levels. While many IT departments focus on servers, PCs and networks, printers remain an easy avenue for bad guys to enter your networks and cause havoc. Ultimately, printers are endpoints on your networks. They are connected to the internet and as vulnerable as any other device on your network. 

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Securing printers need not be a complicated headache. Follow these industry best practices to take control of printer security in your business and protect your printers.

  1. Ensure Printer and MFD Software are Updated Consistently. Printers and multifunction devices are far more than just printers. They have sophisticated software systems to allow them to integrate into your business operations.

    Like your smartphone or computer operating system, printers and MFDs require firmware updates to add new functionality, improve performance, and improve security. Without these updates, businesses leave the door open to possible cyberattacks. Regularly check device statuses and install all software updates to ensure your device is protected.

  2.  Change default administrative passwords. When you lease a new copier or printer, the device comes equipped with a default password. Many businesses continue to use that default password after configuring their device.

    Changing the default password is critical to your device's security. Default administrative passwords are easily identifiable and readily available online. This makes it incredibly easy for hackers to access connected equipment, opening your business to a cyberattack.

    When you get new equipment, the first thing you should do is change the administrative password. It could have a significant impact on your network security.

  3.  Set Up Access Restrictions for Your Devices. When your IT department issues a new computer or smartphone to an employee, access controls are put in place to limit a user's access to administrative functionality. The same logic should apply to your MFDs and printers.

    IT staff needs to maintain control and visibility of all network users on all devices. By limiting access to administrative functions, IT administrators can track the usage of printers and MFDs at all times. This limits the exposure of devices to data breaches and potential leakages.

  4.  Secure Printer Ports. Printer ports are channels that transfer data from a computer to the printer. When you secure printer ports, you disable the avenue for hackers to get into your device.

    Your device should come with instructions on how to disable unused ports. If not, contact your print provider for assistance.

  5.  Implement User Authentication. You can control access to shared copiers and printers by implementing user authentication. For someone to print from one of your print devices, they must authenticate at the device to release the document.

    Proximity cards, key fobs or even pin codes are all authentication methods. User authentication also mitigates the problem of sensitive documents left on the printer.

Unsecured printers have quickly become a popular entry point for hackers into businesses. Implementing these best practices can help your company keep your data secure.

If you aren't sure where to start with printer security, a reputable print provider, like Fraser, can help you. Fraser offers a complete print environment assessment that includes security recommendations. Our review can also recommend the right equipment and software solutions to save you money on printing. Contact us today to get your free assessment.

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