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The Fixer flexes serious printing security muscle to thwart hackers

March 22, 20184 Minute Read

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Hardly a week goes by without headlines blaring the latest cybersecurity nightmare. “Medical records and sensitive data of 150,000 US patients exposed,” reads one recent news item. While the skiddies who’ve found their way into your sensitive data via business email compromise may think they’re clever, don’t be impressed.

Wolves prey on the weak. But they’re not unstoppable. By understanding a few key characteristics of your average hacker, you’ll understand their efforts at taking over the world—and your organization’s network—aren’t as impressive as they’d have you believe.

Remember: Every hacker has a match

Through weak printing security, the wolf may have found his way into your competitor’s network, but he’s about to meet his match. Your hacking nightmare’s armed with little more than a knowledge of the common vulnerabilities in your mail room’s old printer, some freshman-level social engineering tactics, and a whole lot of overconfidence. He may know that 98 percent of the world’s business printers are completely and totally unsecured, but he’ll eventually run into that 2 percent: a modern printer that’s not wide open to attack.

Take HP’s printers, for example. Their sleek engineering isn’t all they offer—they’ve got some serious grit in the fight against script kiddies, lamers, and actually scary hackers, like the yahoos who launched the recent wiper virus attack.

Monitor threats 24/7 with intrusion detection

Wolves may claim to never sleep, but they do. Printers equipped with run-time intrusion detection don’t take any days off. While you’re printing off memes to plaster around the break room to advertise your Tuesday night beer and trivia meetup, the printer’s constantly looking for signs of a wolf knocking at the door. If an attack is detected, the device self-heals and reboots from the ground up.

The feature is called self-healing security, and it’s backed by a set of code integrity-checking mechanisms built right into the BIOS of the printer’s software. You can think of BIOS as the low-level software that deals with the basics, like booting the machine on and off.

Turn your unlucky day around with self-healing features

Remember way back in May 2017, when the WannaCry ransomware attack pelted down on businesses throughout the United States and Europe? Experts predict the impact of this nasty little joke at $4 billion, and some well-known brands still haven’t fully recovered from the devastation.

There are stories of organizations who begged their employees not to boot up their machines as ransomware spread like wildfire through their ranks. Loads didn’t listen and were faced with a message demanding $300 worth of bitcoin as a ransom for their files.

HP printers with intrusion detection features can put up a good match against ransomware. Not only can they prevent your printer from being used as a point of entry into your network, but if they get infected, they can reboot and self-heal. The printing security design prevents the viral spread throughout your company’s network that’s often associated with these cybercrime sprees.

Shut down hackers with no mercy

One of the twerpiest hacks exploits security flaws in your spreadsheet software to recruit your endpoints for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Hacker forums are buzzing about how they can load up innocent-looking files with malware to infect your endpoints, snaring your devices to do whatever they want. This includes stealing all your passwords and mining bitcoin from cryptocurrency wallets. Not cute, is it?

The idea that malware can be used to steal your data, corrupt your network, or recruit your endpoints to a DDoS army just isn’t cool. Technology has advanced a ton, though, and fortunately, endpoint security doesn’t have to be stuck in the 1980s, when hair was big and office technology was still in its infancy.

Don’t let hackers give you a headache

While these wolf pup hackers may not have the ability to stand up to a modern endpoint device, like a smart printer, they’ve still created a long-lasting headache for many IT professionals. Sixty-four percent of IT managers think their legacy printer is infected with malware, while 56 percent of enterprises aren’t including printers in their endpoint security strategy. Resources are scarce, script kiddies who buy malware on the dark web are abundant, and IT pros are forced to make some tough choices about what they’ll protect and what they’ll think about tomorrow.

A printer with built-in security features can’t solve the proliferation of shadow IT at your organization or the sketchy apps your employees download on the mobile devices they use for work and play. It can, however, ensure that only known, respected firmware can be loaded and executed to protect the BIOS from corruption, making your endpoint security strategy just a little easier to manage. In the fight against wolves, every bit of firepower helps.

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