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The Fixer says printing infrastructure can keep the wolves at bay

March 21, 20185 Minute Read

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Do you think the information security at your workplace is top-notch? Well, the IT geeks who went through the biggest-ever data breaches thought the same exact thing.

I wasn’t born yesterday, and I can tell you that in most cases, no one person on the inside was at fault. They got most of the patching updates done and probably spent a bundle on network security—but they forgot to worry about certain factors, like the security of their printing infrastructure or if their third-party HVAC vendor was sharing passwords.

Take it from me: Stray wolves don’t care how much time you’ve put into crunching numbers on your security risks. Hackers find the one thing you overlooked in your endpoint security, then they eat your business for breakfast. Fortunately, whether you’ve come face-to-face with a cybercrime in your office or not, I’m here to make sure they don’t make a meal out of you.

Upgrade and secure every one of your endpoints

Hackers may be lazy, but they’re decent at being incognito. Most hackers avoid detection in your company network for more than 140 days—and that’s way too long. The entire time, they’re treating your sensitive data like an all-you-can-eat buffet, finding additional vulnerabilities and stealing the data from your unsecured and un-monitored business printers. Hackers are greedy, and they won’t turn down an opportunity to keep eating away at your business if you let them.

I’ve never met a wolf in the wild who deserved a second helping—let alone a first. To make sure your IT security in the workplace doesn’t look like a treat to the twerp hackers of the world, you can turn to printers with built-in security features. They may look like a fancy piece of office technology from the future, but these endpoints never stop working for your security: They’re fighting hackers nonstop, whether you’ve had your first cup of coffee in the morning or not.

Sleep tight knowing your printer stays vigilant 24/7

Wouldn’t it be swell if you could wake up every morning knowing you remained untouchable to malware-slinging cybercriminals overnight? HP Enterprise devices are always on guard, continually detecting and stopping threats thanks to run-time intrusion detection. Intrusion detection can be your secret weapon against those smug grins plastered on hackers’ faces when they try to make ransomware sweep through an entire corporate network before 9 a.m.

These printers could be the only devices in your network that catch a virus and self-heal without your help. HP printers come equipped with HP Sure Start engineered right into the BIOS, which is a set of boot instructions used to load critical hardware components and initiate firmware. If malware worms its way into the BIOS, HP Sure Start can detect the anomaly and will automatically shut down, reboot, and reload a “golden copy” of the BIOS that’s hidden within the printer and can’t be infected.

With HP Sure Start and run-time intrusion detection combined, your printer will always be working for you. Even if a hacker finds their way into your printer, you won’t be suffering the viral spread of infection to every device in the building.

Even your grandma isn’t safe from dirty firmware

You think corrupted firmware isn’t much of a threat? That garbage is literally everywhere. Half a million folks are walking around with pacemakers that are vulnerable to exploit. That’s right, hackers have the ability to corrupt your grandma’s pacemaker to control how fast it beats or drain the batteries.

While the manufacturer is issuing a security update, it takes no more than $15 of equipment to exploit these multi-thousand dollar devices. If these criminal creeps don’t think twice about issuing a nasty shock to Grandma, why should they care about breaking into your network through your unsecured business printer?

In 2017, a hacking n00b called Stackoverflowin got up into some firmware with a cute little script that searched for open printer ports. He found 150,000. While his mischief was limited to sending a print job that read “your printer has been pwned,” most of his peers who want into your firmware aren’t as clever, efficient, or harmless.

In HP Enterprise printers, whitelisting automatically checks the firmware for anomalies. If the firmware is corrupted, the device locks up and goes into safe mode, then it alerts your IT team to reload the firmware code. With security features like this, you don’t have to worry about someone like Stackoverflowin—or worse—gaining access to your network.

Make IT security in the workplace easier

While news stories about self-proclaimed “gray-hat hackers” who want you to secure your printer ports are one thing, ransomware is another thing entirely. It’s a real ugly beast, and it’s getting uglier by the minute. The Petya virus that took down Ukraine’s national infrastructure back in June 2017 taught us all the lousy lesson that a few hundred bucks in bitcoin may not get you your files back. Today’s ransomware has evolved—and you’re not facing the same old threats.

Each time a new data breach like this hits the news, your gut drops. While some of the wiliest hackers may be figuring out how to worm their way into companies with decent security, even their nastiest wiper virus doesn’t stand up to devices with strong security features. And let’s face it, you’ve got enough endpoints and people to worry about without having to wonder what’s lurking in your printing infrastructure or firmware.

That’s why you need a printer built with security in mind, so you can set it and forget it—even when there’s ransomware epidemics all over the news. Built to be secure from the moment you power it on and engineered to fix itself, it’s one part of your company network you never have to view as a threat. And that’s some seriously good news.

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