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The State of Printer Security

The State of Printer Security

Check out our infographic showing the current state of printer security

Find out the surprising truth about the state of printer security in today’s corporate office environments, and why it is so important for information technology (IT) departments to take the necessary precautions to protect sensitive corporate data from growing cybersecurity breaches and prevalent network vulnerabilities.
State of Printer Security Infographic
Find out the surprising truth about the state of printer security in today’s home and office environments, and learn why it’s important you take the necessary steps to protect your data.

Your unsecured printer: a hacker’s dream

Just how common are data breaches? In 2016, there were 4,149 data breaches that exposed over 4.2 billion personal data records. A large number of people are affected each year [1].
But data breaches don’t only happen because of hacked servers and stolen laptops. Hackers can also gain access to your personal data by going through your printer.
There are almost 30 million printers and multifunction devices in the U.S. and Western Europe that are connected to a network. Any device that’s connected to the internet is potentially vulnerable to cyber theft.
Today, it’s estimated that less than 2% of business printers are secure. Furthermore, a printer is 68% more likely to be the source of an external threat or breach than it was in 2016. And a printer is 118% more likely to be the source of an internal threat or breach.

Printer malware

Most of the time, hackers may try to get you to download printer software that contains malware. If malware is installed on your printer, hackers can:
  • Send unauthorized print jobs
  • Gain access to confidential or sensitive information
  • Launch denial-of-service (DoS) attacks
  • Gain access to copies of documents
However, many people still don’t know about the vulnerability of printers. In a Spiceworks survey of 500 participants:
  • Only 22% of North American IT professionals recognize printers as a security risk
  • Only 52% of IT professionals worldwide include printing on their security policy
In an IDC survey of 440 participants:
  • 80% said IT security is important to their business processes, but only 59% said printer security is important to their business processes
  • More than 50% of surveyed organizations experienced an IT security breach, including print security, within the last 12 months

Results of a printer security program

According to the IDC survey, organizations that initiated a print security program:
  • Experienced up to 6x fewer printer-related security breaches
  • Cut staff time needed to support their printer environments in half
  • Saved an average of 15% on paper, toner, and ink costs [2]
Clearly, there’s a number of business benefits to investing in printer security.

Tips to enhance your HP printer security

Remember that having an unsecured printer is like having an unlocked back door through which a hacker can enter. When you wanted to protect your home from theft, you make sure that all your doors are locked. And you might even install a home security system. You can take the very same steps to secure your printer.
Use these 4 tips to enhance your HP printer security:
  1. Check your network needs
  2. Encrypt your files
  3. Update your printer firmware
  4. Invest in secure printers

1. Check your network needs

Internet access allows hackers to gain entry to your printer and even your whole network of devices. If you have multiple printers in your home or small office, you should think carefully about whether each printer really needs to be connected to the internet.
When you limit how many printers have internet access, you’ll reduce the likelihood that one of them will get exposed to a data breach.
Consider designating one printer as an internet-connected printer so your staff can do mobile printing when they’re out of the office.
You could also set up printers for each area of your office that have no internet connection - your staff can plug in or use WiFi Direct to print. Programs like HP Web Jetadmin can help you configure your network of printers.

2. Encrypt your files

Encryption is one of the best ways to keep your data confidential, even if your device or network is breached. Encryption basically jumbles the code of your file so that it can’t be read by anyone who doesn’t have authorized access to it.
You can easily encrypt your files on Windows 10, and most HP printers have encryption software that automatically encrypts any data that’s wirelessly transferred to your printer.

3. Update your printer firmware

Your printer firmware may have frequent updates that fix security vulnerabilities. If you want your printer to have the best protection from the latest malware and cyber theft mechanisms, it’s important that you regularly update your firmware when updates are available. With an HP printer, you can easily update your firmware on your printer software.

4. Invest in secure printers

The best printers come equipped with advanced print security features that automatically do security work for you. These security features include:
  • Automatic attack detection, protection, and healing
  • Usage tracking to prevent unauthorized use
  • Simple sign-in options, like PIN or smartcards
When you’re shopping for a printer for your home or office, be sure to find one that has these and other security programs.

HP printer security features

HP printers incorporate state-of-the-art security features that can protect all of your important personal and business data. Here’s a quick rundown of common security programs that you’ll find in an HP printer.

1. HP Connection Inspector

HP Connection Inspector continuously monitors all outbound connection requests. If needed, it’ll automatically reboot your printer to initiate repair work which can eliminate any malware or viruses that have gotten through your security features.

2. HP Security Manager Quick Assess

Our HP Security Manager Quick Assess program provides you with a free, one-hour printer security assessment led by one of our skilled HP representatives. This is a fast and intuitive way to learn all about your HP printer’s security features.

3. TPM slot

This accessory enables you to store admin credentials, certificates, and encryption keys.

4. HP Sure Start

HP Sure Start detects and prevents malicious code from infecting your printer. It will automatically prompt self-healing for your BIOS if malware is detected.
5. HP FutureSmart firmware
HP FutureSmart is an upgradeable firmware that can easily incorporate new features over time.

6. Firmware whitelisting

HP printers are programmed for firmware whitelisting, which ensures that only HP-authentic code is loaded onto the memory. If non-HP code is detected, it will stop the boot process and notify IT.

Summary

Check out HP Tech Takes to learn more about how to protect your home and work data from printer security vulnerabilities, and to get security tips on how to prevent security breaches.
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Infographic transcription:

Find out the surprising truth about the state of printer security in today’s home and office environments, and why it is so important to take the necessary steps to protect your data.

Your unsecured printer: A hacker’s dream

  • In 2016, there were 4,149 data breaches, which exposed over 4.2 billion records.
  • There are almost 30 million printers and multifunction devices in the U.S. and Western Europe that are connected to a network.
  • Less than 2% of business printers are secure.
  • Today, a printer is 68% more likely to be the source of an external threat or breach than it was in 2016, and 118% more likely to be the source of an internal threat or breach.
If malware is installed on a printer, hackers can:
  • Send unauthorized print jobs
  • Gain access to confidential or sensitive information
  • Launch denial-of-service (DoS) attacks
  • Gain access to document copies
In a Spiceworks survey of 500 participants:
  • Only 22% of North American IT professionals recognize printers as a security risk
  • Only 52% of IT professionals worldwide include printing in their security policy
In an IDC survey of 440 participants:
  • 80% said IT security is important to their business processes, while only 59% said printer security is important to their business processes
  • More than 50% of organizations surveyed experienced an IT security breach, including print security, within the past 12 months
Organizations that initiated a print security program:
  • Experienced up to 6x fewer printer-related security breaches
  • Cut staff time needed to support their printer environments in half
  • Saved an average of 15% on paper, toner, and ink costs

Tips to enhance your printer security

Unsecured printer = Unlocked back door:
  • Check your network needs
  • Consider which of your printers need network access, and which do not
  • Encrypt your files
  • Update your printer firmware
Invest in secure printers that feature
  • Automatic attack detection, protection, and healing
  • Tracking to prevent unauthorised use
  • Simple sign-in options such as PIN or smartcards

HP printer security features

  • HP Connection Inspector: Continuously monitors outbound connection requests, automatically forces reboot to initiate repair.
  • HP Security Manager Quick Assess: A free, one-hour printer security assessment with a skilled HP representative.
  • TPM Slot: Accessory allows you to store admin credentials, certificates, and encryption keys.
  • HP Sure Start: Detects and prevents execution of malicious code, prompting self-healing for the BIOS.
  • HP FutureSmart Firmware: Upgradable firmware that can take on new features over time.
  • Firmware Whitelisting: Validates that only authentic HP code is loaded into the memory. Will stop the boot process and notify IT if compromised.
Learn more about how to protect your data from the many printer security vulnerabilities left unguarded, including how to use HP printer security features for preventing critical breaches, how to strengthen your weakest cybersecurity link, what not to do after a security breach, and even brush up on your hacker lingo on HP® Tech Takes.
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