Where are your Secrets being Kept?
Article by the Cyber Security Committee
Office printers/scanners/fax machines (hereinafter “printers”) are a treasure trove of sensitive data. Because they often come with a web-based interface or an internet connection, they have a huge attack surface, making them easy to hack.
How are printers vulnerable?
- Open External Ports (USB, memory cards, etc.)
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless connections
- Printers have a memory – all items printed, scanned and copied are stored in memory on hard drive of printer
What do hackers want with printer access?
- Access to Non-Public Personal Information and other sensitive information
- Backdoor access to network – printers can become a “hot spot” for others to use your internet access which could compromise your data and slow the speed of your Wi-Fi
What are common methods of attack?
- Criminal sending an image of a file to a company’s printer with Trojan malicious code, which can allow them to capture the content of all images that are printed
- Criminal will change printer configuration to re-route print jobs to outside the company
- Criminal will attack through Wi-Fi by getting the printer to connect to a malicious network and then execute/install harmful code
Steps/suggestions to protect your printers:
- Change the password access to printer regularly
- Consider having all employees have their own long, unique passwords
- Change the printer’s name
- Change the printer’s Wi-Fi password
- Regular updating with security patches and software
- Regularly update and upgrade your printer for latest in security features
- Consider disabling USB port on the printer
- Turn off all application options that come pre-configured with your printer
- Turn on dual 2-factor authentication, if available
- Turn off “notifications” for proactive maintenance being sent to suppliers (any messaging going outside your company is taking a risk)
- Configure network settings so that the printer can only answer commands that come from specified ports on your network router
- Use a firewall on your printer
- Enable the hard disk setting to encrypt/set to overwrite
- Consider turning off all Wi-Fi or Bluetooth options
- Awareness is key - Recognizing the risk that printers have and making it a priority is crucial in managing and mitigating these threats
Special considerations to protect your printers AT HOME:
- Shred all sensitive information that you print at home office prior to throwing it away
- Update your driver when prompted
- If you get rid of a home printer, destroy the hard drive or change the printer settings to make sure that the hard drive is not storing any information
- If using Wi-Fi – make sure you have a secure connection using VPN - Consider hard wiring if possible
- Disable Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) printing and enable Secure IPP printing instead
- Make sure your wireless security is WPA2 or stronger
- Change setting and redirect to https
- Set encryption strength to high