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Your New IT Hard Target: Printer Security

Hackers Can Target More than Your PCs

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Credit: Connection

Printers being hacked is nothing new. It’s even hit the headlines a few times with one being used to store pirated files, then another being programmed to display a paperclip on every page it printed. It seemed harmless at first. But then Columbia University discovered you could actually cause a printer’s fuser to continually heat up, potentially burning up more than your maintenance budget.

The real page turner happened when it was revealed that someone outside your organization could use it as a weak point to attack your network. But that’s not all. Someone invading your printer’s memory can retrieve documents, set it so they’re sent a copy of everything you print and scan, and more.

Most organizations aren’t thinking about their printer as another computing device on a network when in reality, that's just what it is. They have hardware, control panels, keyboards, firmware, software, Internet access, and network access. It’s a computer on a network just like PCs, mobile devices, and other peripherals that IT departments take great care to secure and implement policies and practices. But printers seem to get overlooked when it comes to security.

To combat problems like these (or ones that involve leaving your documents on the output tray for anyone to see) HP has developed tools to keep your information safe and your organization compliant.

JetAdvantage

JetAdvantage allows you to create security policies that encrypt print jobs. It activates full printing as well as authenticates users. It also keeps tabs on printer connectivity by checking 250 point of entry security risks. If any are found, the software alerts the administrator about what printers are at risk and where they are located. Best of all, it’s FIPS 140‑and Common Criteria-Certified.

HP Access Control

HP Access Control, another software‑based security solution, helps prevent physical security risks such as leaving documents on a printer unattended or preventing users without appropriate access from using a device. The secure authentication feature ensures only users specified by the agency can copy, email, or scan, based on their authorization profile. It also controls who can use pull printing, the ability to send a print job to the network from an office printer or mobile device and then retrieve it from any network-enabled device. HP Access Control also manages card reader authentication.

With tools like these readily available with most new HP printers, there’s really no good reason not to take a good, hard look at your printer security before someone else does.

Need a little help assessing your security risks? Watch our video Printer Security: Know Your Risks , have more questions; reach out, our teams are ready to help!

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