Workflow Optimization, Digital Printing, Print Technology, MPS

Are Your Printers a Security Risk?

Posted on Jan 3, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Strong passwords, RFID nametag badges, and regular cybersecurity updates all form the backbone of a solid corporate security plan.

Cybersecurity professionals get excited about threat prevention, mitigation, and business continuity strategies, but often skip the powerful, relatively mundane threat that office printers pose to data security.

The fact is, printers often represent a major security risk. BitDefender, cybersecurity firm in Bucharest, Romania, has placed printers above routers as the biggest vulnerability for businesses, and there is good reason for this status. Printers need to communicate digital information and can't always tell the difference between sensitive and public data.

B3.jpg

How to Tell If Your Office Printer is a Security Risk

Modern printers no longer connect specifically to a single computer. They are Internet-connected devices designed to accept print jobs from any trusted source. However, many of these devices have factory settings designed to accept any incoming source as legitimate, as several universities discovered in 2016 when a hacker sent hate speech fliers to every publicly accessible printer in North America. This means that if you purchased an office printer and set it up to work through Wi-Fi without properly securing the network, you are almost certainly exposing yourself to cyber threats.

For businesses, the possibility of unwanted materials printing on their machines is not the biggest concern. Protecting the company from a hacker with the ability to exfiltrate data from the printer is vital to the security of the business. If the device is not protected by a firewall, this can be done from a laptop outside the office building or hundreds of miles away.

Printers also present an additional unique security risk – physical access. Hopefully, your printer's network connection is secure, but is it also protected from passersby glancing at or copying sensitive data before it is retrieved from the devices' printing tray?

How to Mitigate Printing Security Risks

Because of the unique nature of printers as a security risk, only a comprehensive data security solution can ensure printer security. Xerox offers such a solution. ConnectKey technology provides printer and data security solutions that exceed industry standards in four major respects.

  • Preventing Intrusion. ConnectKey printers protect against unauthorized access. Authentication and access control capabilities ensure that only data from trusted sources enters the printing queue.
  • Detecting Changes. Authorized users may engage a Firmware Verification test to determine whether the printer's firmware has been changed. Firmware malware is one of the newest and most sophisticated ways to compromise a connected device. Often, the only way to tell if it has happened is by referring to known change logs and constantly monitoring device firmware changes.
  • Protecting Document Data. When you send a secure print order to a ConnectKey printer, you must physically be present at the printer to retrieve your order. The device will not release the print order until you, or any other individual with privileged access, provides an identifying code. During this time, the secure order is encrypted on the printer's hard drive, preventing attackers from exfiltrating data pre-print.
  • McAfee Partnership. Xerox partnered with McAfee to benchmark its performance against international standards and generate solutions that meet or exceed them. ConnectKey printers are among the most secure devices available to modern office administrators.

Despite this level of security, ConnectKey users can print from the cloud, use customized apps for data-intensive processes, and generate electronic documents that speed up business processes immensely. Using ConnectKey, an administrator can download, scan, print, share, and even translate a document securely from a mobile device anywhere in the world.

Want to find out if your printers represent a risk to document security? Request a ZOS 360 Assessment from Zeno Office Solutions today.

Request an Assessment