Printer Security Risks

Printers Present Security Risks

It’s not news that network printers can pose risks to your organization’s security.

Printers can pose cybersecurity risks because they are often connected to networks and can potentially be accessed by unauthorized users.

Hackers may be able to gain access to sensitive information that is printed or stored on the printer.

In addition, malware can be transmitted through printer networks, which can compromise the security of the entire system. It is important to regularly update the firmware and security software on printers to reduce the risk of a cyber attack. It is also recommended to use strong passwords and to limit access to printers to only authorized users.

Read a More In-Depth Article on Printers and Cybersecurity

Printer Security Risks: A List

There are many vulnerabilities that can exist in a network print environment, and it is difficult to rank them in terms of importance or prevalence. Some common vulnerabilities include:

  1. Unsecured network connections: If the connection between the printer and the network is not encrypted, sensitive information may be transmitted in plaintext and be vulnerable to interception.
  2. Unsecured wireless connections: If the printer has a wireless connection, it is important to ensure that it is properly secured with a strong password (**be sure to change the default password, as they are typically extremely weak** See #4 below) to prevent unauthorized access.
  3. Outdated or unpatched software: It is essential to keep the printer’s software up-to-date in order to protect against known vulnerabilities.
  4. Default or weak passwords: Printers often come with default passwords that are easy to guess or are not changed by the user, which can make it easy for attackers to gain access.
  5. Lack of access controls: If the printer is not properly configured to limit access to authorized users, it may be possible for unauthorized individuals to access or modify print jobs.
  6. Lack of activity logging: Without proper logging, it may be difficult to determine if any unauthorized activity has occurred on the printer or network.
  7. Use of unsecured protocols: If the printer is using an unsecured protocol like Telnet or FTP, it may be possible for attackers to intercept and read the data being transmitted.
  8. Insecure firmware: If the printer’s firmware is not properly secured, it may be possible for an attacker to gain access to the printer and modify its settings or behavior.
  9. Lack of network segregation: If the printer is not isolated on a separate network or VLAN, it may be possible for an attacker to gain access to other devices on the same network.
  10. Unsecured print servers: If the printer is connected to a print server, it is important to ensure that the server is properly secured to prevent unauthorized access to the printer.
  11. Lack of physical security: If the printer is not physically secured, it may be possible for an unauthorized individual to gain access to it and modify its settings or steal sensitive information.
  12. Inadequate user training: If users are not trained on how to properly use the printer and identify potential threats, it may be easier for an attacker to gain access to the printer or network.
  13. Unsecured print jobs: If print jobs are not properly secured, it may be possible for an attacker to intercept and read sensitive information.
  14. Unsecured hard drives: If the printer has a hard drive, it is important to ensure that it is properly encrypted to prevent unauthorized access to the data stored on it.
  15. Lack of update management: If the printer is not properly configured to receive and install updates, it may be vulnerable to known vulnerabilities.
  16. Unsecured web-based management interfaces: If the printer has a web-based management interface, it is important to ensure that it is properly secured to prevent unauthorized access.
  17. Insufficient security testing: If the printer has not been thoroughly tested for vulnerabilities, it may be at risk for exploitation.
  18. Unsecured fax transmission: If the printer has a fax capability, it is important to ensure that fax transmissions are properly encrypted to prevent interception.
  19. Unsecured document storage: If the printer has the ability to store documents, it is important to ensure that these documents are properly secured to prevent unauthorized access.
  20. Unsecured remote access: If the printer allows for remote access, it is important to ensure that this access is properly secured to prevent unauthorized access.

Additional Resources

Printer security is an important topic for all organizations. Find more resources below and continue reading:

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