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Printer Security: Threats & What to Do Skip to main content

Printer Security: Threats & What to Do

Mon Feb 27, 2017 | Genesis Technologies

Though they seem to be innocuous, your printers can actually be a serious security liability. Not only is sensitive information there for the taking in the output tray, but they can also provide hackers with access to other computers on the network.

Today's multifunction printers do more than simply print: they scan, sends and store sensitive information. In this way, multifunction printers are essentially computers, with their own hard drives, operating systems and network connections. As we've learned time and time again, businesses need to protect all computers – and now printers.

Here's a rundown on the threats and what to do about them.

Threats to Printer Security

Businesses face a number of potential threats to printer security:

  • Document Theft: this is the simplest and most common breach to security; a person simply walks over to a printer and sneaks a peek at a document that belongs to someone else, and there may be a temptation to pick it up when no one's looking
  • Unauthorized Changes to Settings: If your printer settings aren't secure, someone may (mistakenly or intentionally) reroute print jobs, open saved copies of sensitive documents, or reset the printer to its factory defaults
  • Saved Copies on Internal Storage: If your printer has an internal drive, it can store print jobs, scans, copies, and faxes; if someone steals the printer, or if you throw it out before properly erasing the data, someone might recover the saved documents
  • Eavesdropping on Network Printer Traffic: Hackers can eavesdrop on the traffic on your network, and capture documents that you send from your computers to the printer
  • Printer Hacking: A person accessing your network can hack into a any network-connected printer fairly easily, especially if it's an older model that lacks newer security features or isn't password-protected

Attacks from inside your network are only half of the problem, however. If your printer is accessible via the Internet, the field of potential hackers becomes virtually limitless. Attackers could send bizarre print jobs to it, use the printer to transmit faxes, change its LCD readout or settings, launch denial-of-service (DoS) attacks to lock it up, or retrieve saved copies of documents. They might even install malware on the printer itself to control it remotely or to gain access to it.

Printer Security

We have five multiple-choice questions whose answers will determine what printer security measures are right for your company.

  • Which printer security features or practices has your organization deployed?
  • How do you protect data traveling across your network to and from printers?
  • How does your organization authenticate users at printing devices?
  • How does your organization monitor and/or manage its printer fleet?
  • Which of the following document security measures has your organization implemented?

Share the answers with us and we can identify the right printer security for your organization as part of our Printer Security Assessment.

PaperCut Print Management Software

A way to reduce user misuse is PaperCut MF with its Find-Me printing feature. Find-Me enables users to print to a global virtual queue. Jobs are paused and only printed when the user releases the job at any compatible printer.

Rely on Genesis

These are but a few ways to address today's printer threats. Based on your current copier, MFP and printer infrastructure, we can analyze current security vulnerabilities and identify how to eliminate them. Contact us to get started today before your security vulnerabilities are exposed.



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