5 Common Computer Printer Security Threats

5 Common Computer Printer Security Threats

You must be aware of cybersecurity threats, which are looming large worldwide. But do you know that your printers and copiers are also posing a risk? Yes, it’s a bit surprising and hard to believe statement but it’s completely true.

Now, the next obvious question is how?

We are residing in an era of digital transformation where technology has come a long way ahead. Technological advancements have indeed swayed almost every product segment, including the printer industry.  

In fact, the enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness of modern-day printers have streamlined business operations. It’s true that on one hand, the business organizations are reaping the benefits of the inkjet printers, the security alarm bells have started to ring.  

Printer-based security threats can pose risks primarily to all data-driven IT firms, which have sensitive information. These companies simply cannot afford to compromise on the security front and easily leak out confidential data leading to diminishing profit margins. Therefore, it becomes important to understand and analyze the common printer security threats.

Unethical Hacking of the Device

One of the major issues related to the security of computer printers is the unethical hacking of the device through the internet.

The modern-day printers are integrated with innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and others. With advanced features such as access through mobile apps and websites, the printers are getting to the internet. So, this is where the printer becomes susceptible to hackers.

Any hacker who has some expertise in this unethical practice can easily breach the bare minimum security protocols used by the companies.

Computer printer hacking can also take place due to backdoors. The backdoors are digital security loophole measures for the printer.

We can cite the instance of SQL injection, which was a major printer security threat that occurred way back in 2008 attacking Heartland Payment Systems.

The installation of the firmware on the printer has been identified as another hole specifically if you have an old model, which has not been upgraded.  

Inter-Organizational  Network Security Threats  

We discussed earlier that illegal hacking is indeed one of the biggest printer security threats.  But are you aware that the peril can occur from within the organizational networks? The individual staff gets internal access and user rights to the network.

You can get a hold of the culprit only if you have materialized the printer security threats. You need to update the software program installed in the printer.

Meanwhile, the person can also install and attach another malignant software program to the existing OEM program.

Manipulate the Printer Settings

Your computer printer stacks risk if there is some change in its settings. This can occur during printer servicing and maintenance tasks.  

The maintenance of advanced printers takes place in different ways including Printer Job Language (PJL), HTTP, Simple Network Language Protocol (SNMP), and others.

So, if any person piggybacks on any of the above platforms and changes the inherit settings, the threat starts looming. It happens because the printer’s memory mistakably stores the administrator passwords when the platform is getting used.

Any distant individual can also access the password if he has some technical knowledge and skill. These platforms can also become a threat to your computer printer ink cartridge in many other ways.

Illegal Access to Internal Storage

Modern printers have a pre-installed memory storage system. The role of the storage is to store all the printed documents and store documents in case of a long printing queue.

The storage system is available in the form of an installed hard drive. The driver stores the documents based on the printer settings. And anyone can get access to this hard drive with much ease, especially the employee of the organization.

In addition, the employee can also have physical access to all the saved documents easily. He just needs to connect the hard drive with the computer desktop; that’s it.

This type of security breach usually happens when the organizations tend to discard their old printers without properly deleting the information stored in the hard drive.  

Threats Related to Hard Copy Documents

Well, there is also remains an unnoticed threat, in which any unauthorized person can secretly take away the hard copies of printed documents right from the printer’s tray. Although most organizations don’t consider it serious it’s still an unethical practice. To mitigate this risk, it's important to have proper hard copy file management in place, such as the solutions offered by FileCenter.

Just consider the scenario. You have printed a few pages and arrive a little later to collect the same only to find that the pages are missing. You may think that there is something wrong with the printer or you haven’t given the command properly.

You will print the same documents for the second time without realizing the fact that the important papers have already been stolen.  

Concluding the Discussion

With technology getting smarter and more extensive, the various devices have also become innovative. For instance, computer printers on sale are digitally enabled integrated with new printing techniques. But at the same time, you also have to remain cautious about printer security threats, which can inflict huge business losses.

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