Five Reasons Hackers Love Office Printers

Five Reasons Hackers Love Office Printers

Nobody ever suspects the office printer. Fifty-six percent of enterprise companies leave printers out of their security strategy.

Why? It’s like hanging a sign on the printer that reads, “Attack me!” Some networked office printers are teeming with so many vulnerabilities that even the laziest of hackers or thieves could take a successful swipe. Research conducted by the Ponemon Institute reported that 60 percent of companies surveyed had a data breach involving printers, requiring an average of 46 days to resolve a cyberattack. Here are five ways print security risks could wreak havoc on a business:

1. Network vulnerability

Even behind the firewall, many devices on a network may create a new access point to the entire network. When printers are overlooked in a comprehensive network security plan, that point of entry can be very welcoming to hackers, who can cause catastrophic consequences once inside the network.

2. Attacks

When hackers gain access to unsecured printers, they wield all the power for destruction. Your printer could become a possessed machine, printing random jobs, transmitting foreign faxes and changing all of its settings. Printers are also prime targets of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

3. Data breaches

Unencrypted print data is a hacker’s dream. If data transmitted to a printer is unencrypted, it shows up as clear, legible text. If hackers want access to this data, it can be captured and read using a standard PRN reader.

4. Printer pillagers

Abandoned printouts can sit for days in the printer’s document tray or end up littering the copy room. Nosy employees can sneak off with confidential information inadvertently left behind. This information leak also makes a company liable for regulatory compliance failures.

5. Mobile devices compound the issue

As computing devices on the network expand to include mobile devices, it is more challenging to provide network authentication and secure access to printers. A mobile solution that addresses user authorization and secure data transmission to printers is necessary to be protected. The more devices we introduce to a connected network, the more vulnerabilities and instances for hacking we create.

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