We all use printers: at home or at work.
They come in various makes and models; some are basic, while others are a mini computer that does almost everything, except make coffee.
But how secure is your printer from being hacked by someone in a foreign country, or the young teen next door? Using the Internet of Things search engine, Shodan, a simple search for a brand of printer, like Fuji Xerox or Sharp, will yield thousands of results showing which of these printers are connected to the internet. Some are only accessible with a password, while there are many that are open via port 80 or 443, with your preferred web browser.
These images show how much information is available within an unsecured printer:
So why secure your printer?
- It's often plugged into the network without changing the default settings
- Security patches and new firmware are often rarely updated
- Many printers are accessible from the internet
- Printers are like mini computers and so can be hacked
- If the printer is connected to the internet, it can be used by outsiders
What can a hacker do?
- Launch a Denial of Service attack (DOS) and crash your printer
- Use the printer as a platform to attack computers on your business network
- Install Malware to give back-door-access
- Store unauthorised data
- Retrieve scanned and printed documents
- Use this information to mount a Social Engineering attack against the business
- Print objectionable material
- Screw up the printers' settings
- If you have a basic printer, add a configurable firewall
- Implement recommended manufacturer's security features
- Change the default password
- If available use Access Control Lists (ACLs) to block unauthorised access
- Remove the default Gateway from the printers IP configuration
- Turn off unnecessary features, like FTP, Telnet and allowing external access with HTTP and HTTPs
- Sensitive data? Encrypt the printer's hard drive and even encrypt all documents sent to it from computers
- Update and patch regularly as required
- If in a very small office, just plug the printer straight into the computer