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The State of Printer Security
September 30, 2018
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 .
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.
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.
Your unsecured printer: A hacker’s dream
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.
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 
Clearly, there are 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:
Check your network needs
Encrypt your files
Update your printer firmware
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 plugin 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.
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.
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