Are printers now ‘worst’ for enterprise security? [Native]

Printers, Christiaan Colen Flickr

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Printers might not be the flashiest gadgets in the office, but recent research reveals that they’re still being ignored when it comes to security.

Many printers today feature internet connectivity, allowing users to wirelessly print documents and more. Of course, any time a gadget has an internet connection, chances are high that it’ll be targeted by someone…

In fact, a BitDefender researcher told The Register that printers are now the dodgiest connected devices around.

“The router is no longer the worst device on the internet. It’s now the printer,” BitDefender’s Bogdan Botezatu told the website.

The statement is backed up by a recent Spiceworks survey of over 300 enterprise “decision makers”. It found that 16% of network breaches or threats came via printers. It doesn’t seem like much in comparison to PCs and smartphones, but it marked a sharp increase from 2014, which was pegged at just 4%.

Printers are quickly becoming a popular entry point for enterprise cyber attacks

So, surely companies are stepping up to the plate? Well, not quite…

Despite these risks and the increasing number of breaches via printer, only 16% of respondents thought printers were at high risk for a network breach in the first place.

How many are actually using network security at all on printers, then? HP and Spiceworks noted that only 41% of respondents were doing so. Meanwhile, 83% of respondents use network security on PCs and 55% used security on smartphones.

It was noted that the potential impact of a printer intrusion included increased help desk calls and support time, reduced productivity and increased system downtime.

But these side-effects seem tame in comparison to more serious possibilities, such as the ability for hackers to retrieve print jobs via the printer cache. Of course, these print jobs could host sensitive information, such as passport copies, ID numbers, bank details and more.

This article is brought to you by HP.

Featured image: Christiaan Colen via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0, resized)



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