If you have a local network at home with several connected computers, I’m sure they take measures to protect them against possible threats arriving from abroad. But what if I tell you that printers also need to have their own security protocols as they can be a perfect point of attack?
The weakest link in a chain is what makes its strength, and local office networks increasingly attacks that have originated in the connected printers are detected. That’s why HP has recently introduced a new range of office printers highlighting new security measures, but really the printers are so “hackable” and dangerous as it says HP?
How is the safety of a printer is violated?
We all understand how a hacker can connect to someone else’s computer and exploit some vulnerability to get private access to it. But how do we interpret someone “between” in a printer? The first thing to do is to stop imagining printers that have at home and be aware that these printers in offices have many more components.
Components such as a hard disk, cache, and several ways to connect local network devices and computers around and remotely on networks. These printers are ultimately almost complete computers on someone without access can use to get data.
For some time now it has become apparent in some discovered threats, in which a hacker could even modify the firmware of a printer for the paper to warm until it will smoke. Forbes also commented on the issue in 2013, denouncing what they were vulnerable networks in the printing dots.
Another example: A computer on the side of evil explained a few months ago as a simple search for a URL in Google was able to find Brother printers connected to a local network without adequate protection or even locate identification data factory get control. And if we know some code, something he could get to be with certain models of Samsung printers.
A printer is protected
What measures are beginning to adopt manufacturers to improve the safety of their printers to all these attacks? Well for starters there are systems that check the BIOS boot each printer making sure that all firmware running is known and safe (using a whitelist). If malware detection, the printer is able to load an intact copy of the original firmware that is stored separately to prevent unwanted access.
As for the identity, printers can also request that we insert a USB key to confirm our identity at all times to receive data and print. This will ensure that only those who are physically near the printer can print and anyone can access what you have stored in the memory of the remote printer.
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Parallel also offer monitoring tools aimed at IT managers of each company from which you can enable or disable communication protocols such as Telnet (more precisely the channel used to send computer attacks worldwide) or FTP. If an attack on one of those channels, it is disabled to prevent further damaged and immediate action is taken lighter is detected. On the official website of Canon, we can see tips protect professional printers as creating a firewall and protect them behind a router without your IP is exposed.
If we review all these measures, you will see that differ little and those that we have in any office computer to network boot: protected firmware, secure identities, start-protected BIOS … it is to eliminate the weak link in the which they are becoming these printers, and prevent any attacker can get data in places as unexpected as the memory of a multifunctional office.
Will we see something like this in our homes at some point? Our printers and multifunction already connected to our local network to function rather than traditional USB cable, which automatically converts remotely accessible devices. Anyway, we are talking about devices that do not have too many internal disk or boot protocols as in the case of professional office printers, which makes them too simple to capture the attention of any hacker. Yes, it will depend on the protection of our local network, but so far these protection measures we have discussed focus on businesses where many people use the same machine to print documents.