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How Your Printer Could Leave You Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

woman using office copier

Hacking Via Enabled Devices

Device manufacturers have made it easier than ever to control a variety of systems over the internet. Most of us have a handful of IoT (Internet of Things) enabled devices around the house—from lighting systems to yard sprinklers and even WiFi-enable washing machines. While they may seem convenient and innocent enough, more cyber threats are using these devices as access points to hubs of more sensitive data. From a group of hackers who accessed a casino's patron data through a fish tank to one family discovering that their baby monitoring system had been hacked, these devices can act as open windows to your data systems.

So, what about your company's office printers? Could they be an access point for cyber threats to gain access to your organization's network? Absolutely.

Your Office Printer May Leave You Vulnerable

Responsible businesses go to great lengths to ensure the security of their data, and with good reason. A data breach can cost a company thousands of dollars, their reputation, and even criminal penalties in certain industries subject to regulatory compliance. Despite their efforts to protect their data, many organizations fail to protect one vulnerability found in just about every office in America: the humble office printer.

Connected Hard Drives

Modern multifunction devices (MFDs) are equipped with internal hard drives, just like a computer. These hard drives capture and store the information from all the documents they process via scanning, copying, faxing, and printing. Oftentimes, this information is sensitive data that could be a liability should it fall into the wrong hands. As is the case with computers, printers are vulnerable to attacks from hackers once they are networked.

Related: The Cost of HITECH “Willful Neglect” and the $1,215,780 Copier

Unauthorized Printing & Routing

Control of where documents print may not seem like a privilege easily abused. However, when the items intended for printing are sensitive company, client, or patient information, being able to reroute these print jobs is immensely lucrative for cyber threats. By having the ability to reroute print jobs or duplicate said print jobs means that your organization could be bleeding sensitive data without even knowing it due to vulnerable print manager cybersecurity.

The Consequences of the Low Priority of Cybersecurity Strategy

Unfortunately, most small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do not consider document security to be a priority. Only 38% of SMBs have an active cybersecurity strategy in operation for their organization. Because of this, its no wonder why 43% of all cyberattacks that take place target smaller businesses. While larger organizations would be more lucrative targets, SMBs are much less guarded—making for an easier attack process.

While it’s important for your company to be aware of the risk modern MFDs pose to the security of your documents, it’s a risk that can be managed with the help of cybersecurity professionals.

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