Whether in the home office or in large companies: network printers are a real advantage when it comes to putting documents on paper quickly and easily. Unfortunately, network printers can pose a real threat too. Because: Network printers are popular targets for hackers. If an attacker manages to gain access to a network-compatible printer, he can, for example, divert all prints undetected and thus gain access to your private documents. But that’s not all: full Linux servers run on many network printers. If these are compromised, they could act as a gateway for viruses and other malware, which then infect all computers on the network. Reason enough to reliably protect network printers.
Secure the printer with a password
It becomes particularly critical when printers offer the function of not only connecting to a network, but to the same Hotspot build. The really practical function allows, for example, to connect a smartphone directly to the printer via WLAN and to print documents. The problem: the printer’s access point function is often limited to default configuration left. In this case, attackers can easily connect to the printer because a Default password or no security measures are used. Make sure to change this on hotspot-enabled printers Access passwordto ensure that strangers cannot access your printer.
Does the printer offer a own serverwhich can also be accessed via the internet? Then you should definitely also ensure access to it. Even if you keep the access URL secret, in the worst case, hackers could reach the printer by testing typical web addresses. If this is the case, strangers can, for example, read the status of the printer or access the latest documents printed on paper. It is very important that you lock access to the printer’s administration page with a password that is as secure as possible. This works with virtually all Internet-enabled printers in the world. Web services configuration. Whether it’s for the WLAN access point or local configuration: Assigning strong passwords is one of the most important steps in protecting network printers.
Network Printer Protection – Other Measures
With a password, you take the most important step toward a secure network printer. But that is not all! As with any device that communicates with the internet, you should check it regularly Firmware updates for your printer there. Manufacturers discover and close potential security breaches time and again by updating the printer’s internal software. Installing printer updates is simple, but you usually have to do it yourself. The next section tells you where to find firmware updates for the major printer manufacturers.
In addition to assigning a password for the printer’s access point settings, many network printers also offer the option Print only after entering a PIN code allow. The corresponding option can be found in the printer settings. Commercial printers that temporarily store large amounts of data on internal storage, such as a hard drive, should also use this code. In this way, you ensure that attackers cannot read the data using software. The corresponding encryption options are active out of the box at most manufacturers. But is it worth it Check encryption status.
Also supported Network services can be adjusted in many cases. In this case, less is often more: for example, if you don’t use Apple devices in your office, it may be worth using the Turn off the Bonjour service. The less a network device is disclosed, the less likely it is that loopholes in a protocol can be exploited.
Also useful: Determine exactly who can and who cannot access the printer. Typical network printers allow all participants on a network to print after initial setup. More sensible from a security point of view: specify in the settings exactly which computers have which rights to the printer. The number of options you have here depends on your printer model. However, it is almost always possible, for example, to only allow expressions that are triggered by certain IP addresses or usernames on the network. Many printers and multifunctional devices also allow basic functions (ie, print, scan, etc.), but restrict administrative changes or access to previous printing to certain users. If the network printer is built into a shared LAN, you should check the corresponding options and implement them if necessary.
Last but not least, you should also the Secure the real network yourself. Update your router to the latest firmware, protect a WLAN with strong passwords, and rely on good encryption. If the network is open like a barn door, even a well-protected printer is of little use. You can find tips and tricks on how to properly encrypt your WLAN here.
Here you can find updates for your network printer
As already mentioned, it is highly recommended that you have a printer connected to the network. Firmware updates to keep up to date. With some printers, this works directly on the device. Alternatively, you must update the firmware manually using a program for Windows, macOS, or Linux.