These days, printers aren’t just printers anymore. Your typical printer can connect to the internet, as well as fax, copy, scan, and more. Printers might not be as powerful as a computer or smartphone, but they can still bear security risks.
Most tech with wireless capabilities are susceptible to viruses and malware – modern printers are no exception. This is an even bigger problem because the security of a printer is often neglected, making printers a accessible point of entry that cybercriminals can abuse.
When not properly secured, printers can wreck havoc and leak confidential data. So, what do you do? Start implementing these 3 tips to protect yourself and improve the security of your printer.
How Often is Printer Security Abused?
Back in July, the Cybernews team hijacked 28,000 unsecured printers and forced them to print out a 5-step guide on how to secure a printer. Sounds a bit funny, but this experiment reveals just how susceptible printers are to cyberattacks.
You’re printing all sorts of things on your printers, perhaps even your company secrets, strategies, and other confidential data? Printers store data about previously printed items, and you don’t want them falling into the wrong hands. According to Small Biz Trends, a whopping 60% of businesses have lost sensitive data because of printer security flaws.
Now, we’re not going to leave you in the dust. Below are ways to strengthen your printer security once and for all.
- Keep Your Printer Updated
Sweet and simple, we’ll keep this short. Make sure each device is patched and protected, including your printer and printer driver. Printer manufacturers will periodically release firmware updates that improve functionality and security. Print drivers also need to be updated, as older versions may have security flaws that were fixed in a more recent update.
- Limit Your Printing Ports
When your printing ports are not secure, they become easy gateways for cybercriminals. Limit your printing ports by only enabling printing protocols that you’ll use. For example, the standard secure printing portal is most likely IPPS protocol via SSL port 443. You want to leave this enabled, and disable everything else. Examples of optional ports that you should leave disabled include Telnet, AppleTalk, and SNMP.
- Strengthen Your Printer Password
W-fi compatible printers can be accessed remotely with a password. Most printers will have a pre-generated password for you to use. If you haven’t done so, change this default password immediately. The pre-generated password tends to be simple, and can often be looked up by cybercriminals. Aim to create a unique and long password that’s impossible to guess or brute-force through.
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