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Protecting printers from malware

September 22, 2017

Along with technology’s continuing evolution comes new security threats and printers can prove susceptible to external hacking.

A new article by Louella Fernandes explores the issue of printers and their vulnerability to the threat of malware. As she writes, although the widespread use of connected and multifunction printers brings users “convenience and productivity” they can also fall prey to various threats, as “confidential or sensitive data can be accessed by unauthorised users” and “network connectivity makes vulnerable print devices potential entry points to the corporate  network.”

Such breaches of data can have a severe and widespread impact, both internally and externally, leading to IP loss, reputational damage, loss of customers and other consequences.

Printers that lack rigorous security features can fall foul of external hackers, and the data these hackers harvest “can be used for fraud and identity theft”. Printers that have been hacked can also be used by hackers “as launch pads for malware propagation, DDoS attacks and devastating ransomware attacks.”

As a result of this ever-present threat, Fernandes writes that “although 95% of businesses indicate that print security was an important element of their overall information security strategy” only a quarter of those businesses felt “completely confident that their print infrastructure is protected from threats.”

But how can businesses mitigate the risk? Fernandes advises that “print devices need to include robust security protection” such as HP’s Connection Inspector, which blocks suspicious requests and can automatically trigger a reboot. Similarly, Xerox has developed the ConnectKey Technology enabled printer family which “incorporates McAfee whitelisting technology constantly monitors for malicious malware and automatically prevents it from running.”

However, since many businesses have older devices as well as new printers with tougher security, Fernandes warns that they “should therefore undertake a print security threat assessment” which “are commonly offered under a managed print service (MPS) contract”. Fernandes also advocates a “multi-layered approach to print security” which “encompasses threat detection, preventative measures, threat monitoring and analytics alongside incident response and recovery”.

For the full article visit http://www.louellafernandes.com/2017/09/21/printers-a-launchpad-for-malware-attacks/

 

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