How printers can be a launchpad for malware attacks

HP continues to shine a spotlight on print security with the recent announcement of embedded print security features that aim to mitigate the threat of malware. So how vulnerable are printers to external attacks, and how can businesses limit their risks?

By  – While the prevalence of connected printers and MFPs bring convenience and productivity, they also pose security risks. Along with the capabilities to capture, process, store and output information, most print devices also run embedded software. Information is therefore susceptible at a device, document and network level. Not only can confidential or sensitive data be accessed by unauthorised users – whether maliciously or accidentally –  but network connectivity makes vulnerable print devices potential entry points to the corporate network.  Any data breach can be disastrous – leading to internal consequences such as the loss of IP or productivity, as well as external repercussions including brand and reputational damage, legal penalties and loss of customers.

In today’s evolving Internet of Things (IoT) threat landscape, hackers that target printers with lax security can wreak havoc on a company’s network.  Data stored on print devices can be used for fraud and identity theft and once hackers have a foothold, the unsecured print device provides an open door to the network. Compromised devices can be harnessed as botnets and used as launch pads for malware propagation, DDoS attacks and devastating ransomware attacks.


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