[This is a snippet of a Pharos article featured in Enterprise CIO]
What’s the biggest security liability in your office? The one you aren’t thinking about.
Researchers recently proved what many in the print industry already knew: Multi-function printers (all-in-one printer/copier machines) can be hacked to deliver malicious code or to access an internal network.
These vulnerabilities are not limited to any one manufacturer or specific type of output device. All printers, copiers, and fax machines with an internet connection are at risk. Once hackers exploit these weaknesses and reach into your network, they can do anything from stealing documents to launching ransomware.
In one recent example, a fan of a popular YouTube star took control of 50,000 printers to print memos encouraging people to watch and subscribe. The attack was essentially harmless, but afterward, the fan admitted he’d identified upward of 800,000 printers he could’ve targeted. Imagine if his intentions were malicious.
“…IT directors who believe they can keep their printing data more secure than these services are either doing something exceptionally right or they are mistaken.”
People tend to overlook printers as a cybersecurity weakness because they’re seen as old and simple technology — but that’s exactly why they present a risk. Printers, both old and new, come with design-driven security risks, making them low-hanging fruit for hackers looking to attack networks with stronger defenses in other areas.
Printers are just one example of the many connected devices that are proliferating in homes and offices. By 2020, Gartner projects more than 20 billion of these devices will be in operation. And unless security issues are explicitly addressed, each of those devices is a potential point of attack.