The Growing Cybersecurity Threat of Multifunction Printers in Business

Multifunction printers (MFPs) have evolved significantly, providing a range of functions such as printing, scanning, copying, and faxing. However, this increased functionality has inadvertently elevated the risk of cybersecurity threats, making MFPs susceptible to exploitation by cybercriminals. Let’s explore why multifunction printers have emerged as a significant concern for business network security:

Network Connectivity:

Modern MFPs are designed to connect to office networks, often lacking proper security protocols. This connectivity becomes an entry point for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or launch attacks within the network. A notable experiment by the CyberNews security team found over 800,000 networked printers accessible over the Internet. Out of a sample of 50,000 open printers, they successfully hijacked 56%, forcing the devices to print a guide on printer security.

Data Storage:

MFPs store internal copies of scanned, copied, and printed documents. If not adequately protected, unauthorized access to this data can result in data breaches and leaks. This poses a severe threat to organizations dealing with personally identifiable information (PII), such as healthcare, education, and legal institutions.

Outdated Software:

Many MFPs run on outdated software, making them vulnerable to known vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. This emphasizes the importance of keeping software up-to-date to mitigate security risks.

Lack of Awareness:

MFPs are often overlooked by businesses in terms of cybersecurity risks, making them attractive targets for cybercriminals seeking a potential gateway into commercial networks.

Countering MFP Cybersecurity Threats:

Acknowledging the threat posed by MFPs is the first step in addressing this cybersecurity challenge. Here are proactive measures to counter MFP-related threats:

  1. Implement Strong Access Controls:
  2. Employ multi-factor authentication, strong passwords, and additional authentication methods such as PINs, biometric scans, or badge printing to restrict access to MFPs to authorized personnel only.

  3. Regular Firmware Updates:
  4. Ensure that MFPs are running the latest firmware by collaborating with the manufacturer or print provider. Regular updates help patch known vulnerabilities and equip devices with the latest security features.

  5. Network Segmentation:
  6. Isolate MFPs from critical business systems by creating network segments. This limits the potential impact of a breach and hinders lateral movement for attackers.

  7. Data Encryption:
  8. Encrypt all data entering and leaving the MFP to prevent eavesdropping and unauthorized access to sensitive information.

  9. Routine Security Audits:
  10. Conduct regular security audits of MFPs to identify vulnerabilities. Promptly address any issues and monitor equipment for unusual activity.

  11. Employee Training:
  12. Educate employees about the risks associated with MFPs and promote best practices, such as not leaving sensitive documents in the output tray and logging out properly after use.

  13. Third-Party Security Solutions:
  14. Consider deploying third-party security solutions tailored for all-in-one PCs to add an extra layer of protection, detect, and prevent cyber threats.

Partnering with an Experienced Print Provider:

Collaborating with an experienced print provider, such as Parmetech, is crucial to mitigating MFP cybersecurity threats. Parmetech focuses on delivering affordable, reliable, and secure office technology solutions. By working with seasoned partners, businesses can proactively ensure their MFPs are configured securely, receive timely updates, and implement protocols to guard against cybersecurity threats. To safeguard your business and multifunction printers from top cybersecurity threats, reach out to the Parmetech team today. Contact them at (800) 727-6383, email, or visit their website to get started.

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