With the recent explosion of technology, data has become a valuable asset, and everyone is working round the clock to protect and secure it. Cyber security has become one of the most important focuses for businesses. While some hire the best IT experts to ensure they are protected from attacks, other people spend thousands hiring a cyber security firm to monitor and correct the vulnerabilities of their systems constantly. Hackers have become our new threat, and they will do anything to destroy you. However, despite constant use of updated and sophisticated security systems to protect data, people forget to protect their printer’s or copier’s data.
Like any other digital device, our modern printers and copiers have evolved and are now a serious security liability. However, before you think of how hackers are manipulating printers and copiers, you should understand that there are two types of printers, the simple printers, and the sophisticated printers. Simple printers are commonly used in our home offices and are usually safer because they have fewer security susceptibilities. The modern printers are more advanced and are susceptible to numerous threats. If you cannot tell the difference, the advanced printers are those multi-function printers you find in busy offices.
You are probably wondering how a printer can be a security threat given the fact that no one ‘stores’ data on them? Well, here is how. At present, most modern printers and copiers come with additional features like web interface and more internal storage. They are like computers and will temporarily or permanently store data. Given how much these machines handle sensitive documents and information; they pose a serious security problem that cannot be ignored. How can you protect your printer’s and copier’s data? How can you prevent hackers who use the printers as an access route to attack your organization? Here are five ways how.
Using a printer as a way to obtain documents and information does not necessarily mean that the attacker has to have sophisticated computer skills. They can simply walk over to the printer and pick up your documents. For this reason, it’s imperative to ensure you tighten the physical security of your printers to prevent an attack. How can you do this? For starters, you can place your printers in an open area that you can monitor to discourage an attack. You can also introduce a strict policy that prohibits the use of management printers (those that handle sensitive information) by employees and visitors.
Moreover, you should avoid leaving your documents in the printer when you are done. Ensure you shred all sensitive documents when you are through with them. Also, unplug your printer to avoid network printer problems.
Change The Password
All advanced printers come with a password that can be used by a hacker to access a printer remotely. If you don't want your printer to be accessed by a third party, then ensure you change the default password. This is one of the most simply cyber security strategies. The password you use to protect your control panel should be unique and as intricate as possible. This will prevent others from interfering with the printer without your knowledge. Also, consider changing the setting to make it a requirement for a user to provide some form of identification before they print.
Constant Updating And Upgrading
If you genuinely care about your data, then ensure you regularly update your printers. Why? Well, you will find out that as technology evolves, device manufacturers are adding more security features on devices to protect them from threats. Therefore, ensure you update your printer to enjoy the latest security features.
Get Rid of Old Hard Drives
When a document runs through your printer, the information is usually stored on the printer’s hard drive. Therefore, before you sell your old printer, ensure you destroy the old hard drive. Change the printer’s settings to make sure that the hard drive isn’t storing any information. What if you don’t know how to change those setting? Follow the manual carefully or call the manufacturer for assistance.
Further Security Measures
Protecting your data means that you must be willing to spend more money to implement further security solutions. Call an expert to evaluate your printer’s vulnerabilities and help you prevent attacks. A knowledgeable printer expert should test penetration, help you change your password, and assist you in determining the best location to place your machines. However, you should also be cautious when hiring these experts and only hire a licensed professional.