According to a recent interview with a security expert from BitDefender, the humble printer is now the most vulnerable part of most company networks. Have you researched networked printer security risks? If you have networked printers, they might be more vulnerable than you would think.

Small office routers still have a long way to go before they are regarded as secure and the Internet of Things is still largely an unknown. However, the simple office equipment is now regarded by many as the weak link in any company’s defences, due to the networked printer security risks. The prevalence of public shares that are open to the internet and often difficult configuration options leave you potentially open to attack. There is a lot of work that needs to go into securing a network printer, which can leave many non-tech types struggling.

However, the biggest culprit for leaving a printer open to attack is installing it with the default settings. Much like leaving a router with manufacturer’s configs and passwords, the defaults are known to many. These defaults offer hackers plenty of opportunity to attack your network at their leisure. Unfortunately, installing and forgetting network hardware is prevalent in too many small to medium-sized businesses without their own IT departments.

By its very nature, a network printer has to be opened up to be useful. It has to be made part of a network share, can require FTP to be running and be accessible across networks or IP ranges depending on how your office is set up. Without careful configuration, this can leave your printer and the rest of your network vulnerable to attack.

So it doesn’t matter how good the rest of your network security is, if you don’t configure and protect your printer, it could all be for nothing.

Yet, network printers are the most efficient way to provide resources to a range of people. In only the most secure locations would a printer ever now be hard-wired. IT just doesn’t happen. So what’s the answer?

Securing your printer

Protecting your network printers from attack uses the same principles as any other network device. Change the default configuration right away. Change the password, login and network addresses and provide defence in depth for your entire network. Configure the share for an IP range and block external traffic to the printer wherever possible.

If this kind of configuration is outside your comfort zone or area of expertise, Excalibur can help. We have a range of managed print services suitable for any business of any size. Contact us for more detail. We can help keep you secure!

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