There have been numerous stories surrounding the dodgy nature of today’s connected printers. In fact, one security expert claimed that the printer was the “worst device” on the internet.
That doesn’t mean that your connected printer is a lost hope though, as there are several ways to shore up your printer’s defenses…
Set a secure WiFi and router password
It might seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to make sure that your WiFi connection is secure. After all, it’s one of your first lines of defense. If people can access your WiFi connection, then there’s a chance that they’ll be able to take the next step and access connected devices.
So access your router’s login page (Google how to log in to your brand’s router — the login details can be found at the bottom of the router) and change the default username and password to both your router and WiFi network. You’ll want a strong password to thwart opportunists.
Set up access IDs or passwords for the printer
One of the more common security methods is to simply set up access IDs/passwords for the printer. This setup varies by printer manufacturer, so you’ll want to check the included guide for advice on how to set this up.
The obvious upside to using this system is that no-one can print without entering a password or login details. This isn’t just useful for blocking unauthorised access, but also goes a long way to prevent abuse. It’s also possible to set up an access ID for each person, to keep better tabs on things.
Ditch the network cable (if you dare)
This is one of the most drastic measures on the list, but for the really paranoid or security conscious (take your pick), PC World recommends unplugging your network cable and printing from flash drive only.
It stands to reason that, USB-based malware aside, your odds of being attacked drop significantly when the device is actually offline. So consider this route if your company regularly deals with sensitive information.
Update the firmware regularly
It’s one of the more basic tips, but printer makers generally release updates to close any security gaps in their printer software.
Generally speaking, printers allow you to either update directly from the device or via a PC. In the latter’s case, you’ll need to visit the manufacturer’s website, find and download the latest firmware and then connect to the printer via USB cable to update.
Get printer monitoring/management software
Believe it or not, but quite a few printer manufacturers offer this sort of software, allowing admins to quickly roll out changes and more (simply search for the printer brand and “monitoring software” or “management software”).
The software works well in conjunction with access IDs, allowing admins to identify what users are printing and more. Some tools also predict usage trends, allowing you to budget properly for the month. At the very least, your most basic management software will show toner and paper levels, among other things.
This article is brought to you by HP.
Featured image: Christiaan Colen via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0, resized)