September 30, 2016
IT Pro hosted the article from HP Inc, which pointed out that it is widely known that criminals can hack into printer networks and cause damage, so it is beneficial to perform the steps given to keep your set-up safe.
One of the most obvious steps is to make sure you have the latest firmware installed, with this provided by the OEM you bought the printers from, and updates are often for your system’s safety because the OEM will have discovered vulnerability in their systems.
The second step is to use printer admin tools, such as HP Web Jetadmin, to simplify printer security, with this a favourite of many IT admins as it shows no manufacturer preferences even though it is designed by HP Inc. It has a “simple, web-based interface [which] makes it easy to add new printers, to troubleshoot problems and eases your administration burden”.
The third is considering restricting access to a certain LAN or subnet. For extra security, check your printers’ IP addresses, and unless you have “good reason” for it to be external, make sure it is an internal address. The fourth is consider a badge or PIN policy with your businesses’ printers, as this means “you’ll immediately ensure confidential documents don’t get left on the out tray. It also means far fewer wasted pages, as users either forget they’ve printed something and leave it there – or print it a second time by mistake”.
The fifth is to make sure the printers hard disk is encrypted, this means that even if somebody grabs the hard disk your data is protected; businesses should also make sure hard disks are professionally wiped when sold or scrapped. The sixth step is making sure that remote printing is secure, with the use of secure formats such as HP wireless direct printing or NFC (near-field communication) touch-to-print helping ensure that the process works smoothly.
The seventh step is to encrypt lines of communication, as if you do want to administer a printer via the web, then “enable SSL to ensure all communication takes place over https”. It is also good idea to encrypt data in transit, the article adds, to prevent wireless eavesdroppers from seeing what is being printed. It is also a good idea to replace older printers, it claims in step eight, as their security firmware will not be up to scratch with very modern printers.
Step nine is enforcing a policy of emptying out the tray when you print something, to help stop confidential documents being left in the tray, while step 10 is ensuring shredders are available to all employees to stop confidential documents being placed in a bin instead of it being shredded. Step 11 is securing unused ports, as if employees will not need to use them, then you should remotely disable them to stop any rouge usage.
Step 12 is setting a reminder – this will be to run through these checks again, for example a firmware update could have been released which changes default settings. Finally, step 13 is to find out how secure your printers are, and HP Inc recommends using their free “secure print analysis” tool.
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