Keep your printer safe from hackers
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Keep your printer safe from hackers

03 April 2018 By Laura King at Vendor Marketing

Printer  Photocopier Image

Could your printer be putting your institution at risk?

Security breaches are becoming increasingly sophisticated and dangerous in the way hackers can now access confidential data. Did you know your printer could be an entry point to your whole network?

Multifunction Printers (MFPs) have evolved to become integral to the network, with many other functions than just printing - including copy, scan to network destinations and send email attachments – and these devices come equipped with hard disk drives and often run internal web servers.

Security focus area

  1. Device - Printing and imaging devices store user credentials and other sensitive data such as stored print jobs that can be accessed if it’s not encrypted or regularly erased.
  2. Network data - Multifunction printers reside on your company network. They can also be hacked like a computer and be an entry point for malware and viruses.
  3. Access control and authentication - In the absence of a pull printing requirement, sensitive documents may be retrieved by any user. Anyone who has access to printer settings can exploit permissions if the settings aren’t restricted to admin only access.
  4. Monitoring and management - Lack of centralised printer control can lead to inefficient, incomplete, and time-intensive efforts by IT to establish and maintain printer security settings.
  5. Document - Output trays are an easy way for sensitive data to fall into the wrong hands. Unprotected input trays could lead to the theft of special paper–such as check stock.


Many organisations still have work to do in safeguarding their print infrastructure. By introducing secure printing controls you can reduce risk and can help reduce costs through user authentication, which can minimise wasteful printing and provides a method to audit user activity which will give organisations better control and responsibility.

Another measure to introduce increased security could be to develop a print security strategy and ensure all employees are appropriately briefed and know how to use features such as PIN enabled printing, so that features are used well and do not disrupt your organisation.

Are your devices fully secure?  

Do you fully understand the complexity of your print environment, the volumes you are printing, or how much it is costing you?

Five printer threats

Unsecured printers are open to any one of these five threats:

  1. Document theft: A person can simply walk over to a printer and pick up a document that belongs to someone else.
  2. Unauthorised changes to settings: If your printer settings and controls aren’t secure, someone may alter and reroute print jobs, open saved copies of documents, or reset the printer to its factory defaults, thereby wiping out all your settings.
  3. Eavesdropping on network printer traffic: Hackers can capture documents that you send from your computers to the printer.
  4. Saved copies on the internal storage: If your printer has an internal drive, it can store your print jobs. If the printer is stolen, or if you throw it out before properly erasing the data, someone could recover the saved documents.
  5. Printer hacking via the network or internet: Someone on your network can hack into a network-connected printer quite easily, especially if it’s an older model that lacks the newer security features.

How do we battle printer security issues?

Attacks from inside your network are only half of the problem. If your printer is accessible through the internet, the potential of your printer being hacked becomes virtually limitless. Attackers could send print jobs to it or retrieve saved copies of documents. They may even install malware on the printer itself to control it remotely or to gain access to it.

Password Protection: Most printers will allow you to password-protect the control panel to prevent others from changing settings without your knowledge.

Update and upgrade your printers: Make sure that you keep your printer’s firmware and drivers up-to-date. Often, updates add new or improved security features, patch known security holes and fix other problems.

A printer with secure printing capabilities means you can safeguard information throughout the entire printing process, tracking documents from the moment the print button is pressed to the arrival of a document in the right hands.

Are your devices fully secure?

Do you fully understand the complexity of your print environment, the volumes you are printing, or how much it is costing you?

Find out more on YPO’s framework for multi-functional devices, managed print, content services and records management.

Categories: Frameworks

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