Printers' Cybersecurity Threats Too Often Ignored

Printers' Cybersecurity Threats Too Often Ignored
Remote workforce heightens the need to protect printing systems against intrusion and compromise.

Working remotely was growing more common even before the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the trend. As workers increasingly settle into their home offices, they still need access to company networks and office hardware — particularly printers. In fact, the pandemic led to a spike in the sale of home office printers, according to Deloitte.

This scenario poses a challenge for IT personnel who are working to secure increasingly decentralized networks in today's hybrid work reality. More specifically, it highlights the challenge of protecting traditionally unforeseen targets — printers — against intrusion and compromise. That's of increasing importance: According to Quocirca's 2019 "Global Print Security" report, 59% of businesses in the UK, US, and Europe have experienced a print-related breach in the past year.

IT decision makers are waking up to this reality — 83% of respondents to another Quocirca survey say their IT departments are at least somewhat concerned about the security of information printed on home printers. But whether in an office, at home, or anywhere else, the risks go beyond device and document security. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) means today's printers can contain several potential entry points to networks and sensitive data — a threat for which large enterprises and small businesses operating remotely must prepare for.

The Nature of Printer AttacksPrevious generations of printers were equipped with read-only memory, making them less vulnerable to hacking or reprogramming. But modern printers have entire operating systems and writable memory, not to mention ..