Tighter endpoint security for the workplace
Request illustrative quotation for purchase, lease or managed fleet.
Many businesses count on their firewalls to protect devices within the network, but it’s much easier for hackers to break into networks through under-secured endpoints like IoT devices, PCs, and printers. HP technologies extend security protection to endpoints by default.
Find out how to upgrade, lease or arrange a managed service to protect your PC or printer estate today and:
Printers are similar to PCs when it comes to their components, capabilities, and risks. And just like the PC, a printer is an endpoint on the network with a BIOS that can be compromised if left unsecured. Vulnerable endpoints can open the entire network – and any data stored on it – to attack.
You need the same level of security to printers that they would apply to other endpoints on the network – such as authentication controls, data encryption, strong admin passwords, and malware protection.
Unclaimed print jobs are among the simplest and most common ways that businesses are put at risk, and it doesn’t take a sophisticated tech hack to steal data in this way.
A hacker can simply use their smartphone to locate a printer that has Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities turned on, but that is not secured with a password, and then inject malware direct from the phone. Once hackers gain access to printers, data can be intercepted as it is sent to the printer. Outdated printers do not have built-in malware protection and data files sent to the printer are not encrypted.
Any document printed (perhaps from a received in a ‘phishing’ email) can contain hidden malicious code. Printers connected to the network are behind the firewall, so the malware can spread to any other endpoints on the same part of the network – potentially PCs and servers crammed with sensitive data.
Such malware can also target and reside at the printer’s BIOS level. This is very difficult to detect because the device is being controlled below the operating system, and the malware cannot be removed or modified by anti-virus software. The malicious code can continually supply data to the hacker and even reinstate itself after network defences are re-established.
Most PCs are secured with a password or other authentication system. Unfortunately, many passwords are weak – easily guessed or often just the default password. But even for PCs with strong authentication systems, once a user signs in, PCs generally stay unlocked if the user walks away and leaves the computer unattended. A hacker who is physically present can simply sit down and gain access to any data across the network – or use a USB drive to upload malware.
Many PCs generally aren’t protected by BIOS security features, offering a dangerous amount of access to a hacker. BIOS level attacks are very difficult to detect because they control the device below the operating system, and cannot be removed or modified by anti-virus software. The malicious code continually supply data and even reinstate itself after network defences deploy.
Protect against unauthorised PC access by strengthening your identity security processes. Applying thorough IT security on all endpoints, not just the network and servers, is essential to reducing the risk of attack. IT should regularly monitor and audit its environment to make sure no endpoints – including PCs – are left unsecured.
Mobile users should be required to authenticate before accessing a printer via a wireless connection. If a business doesn’t currently use a device’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, it’s safest to turn those features off. That’s advisable for all access capabilities that aren’t being actively used and secured. In addition, Wi-Fi and network encryption protocols should be used to help secure the data in the print stream.
There are hundreds of millions of business printers in the world, but fewer than 2% of them are secure. Attacks targeting printers don’t often make the headlines, because in general companies are not monitoring their printers for threats. Studies show that:
26% of all significant data breaches reported by IT managers involve their printers
43% of companies ignore printers in their endpoint security practices.
Over 60% of companies reported a print-related data breach in 2016.