Is Wireless Printing Secure?
Is hacking a wireless printer possible? Absolutely. And this is dangerous if your printer is connected to your home WiFi, as it can openly broadcast itself to the public. This puts you in a vulnerable situation where you can be a victim of wardriving and warchalking of your wireless network.
By definition, the term warchalking is associated with the act of advertising a WiFi network open to the public by chalking out specific symbols indicating the accessible WiFi nodes. This information is gathered by wardriving, where a hacker drives around a neighborhood looking to get access to anything wireless.
But why is that scary? How can hack a printer benefit anyone? Well, considering the fact that we print many confidential documents like our IDs, bank information, tax forms, and others on a regular basis; there’s a lot to worry about. In this article, we are going to discuss potential risks, and a few safety tips you can follow to prevent them. You can also check which is the best printer for home use, which is both secure and functional.
Due to the inadvertent fail of IT staffers from taking the required steps into ensuring the protection of the data, wireless printers have become very risky. Even one of the most simple and straightforward measures like changing the default password into a strong, unique password, is not taken seriously. On ignoring such a simple step, a possibly colossal gateway automatically opens for anyone who wants to have uninvited access to the printer.
It has been noted that the MFPs or Modern Multifunction Printers, often face the below-mentioned threats and risks:
One of the most common risks consists of someone physically walking up to the printer and having open access to someone else’s documents. It is also possible for someone to change your printer’s configuration without your knowledge to route print jobs.
Manipulation or Theft of Content
Another potential risk is the manipulation of the content of your print job. This includes a hacker exchanging the content of your print with new content and deleting your previous logs. Your data is also vulnerable in front of hackers, and this includes print data from the file system, hard drive, or memory when the printers are disconnected.
Turning You Printer To An Attack Point
Your printer can also be turned into an attack point for your other applications by the hacker. This can include the execution of a malicious code that will harm systems—for instance, a denial-of-service launch on the network or printer.
Inherent Cloud Printing Risks
During cloud printing, the commanded print job is dependent on the public infrastructure and is forwarded through printer languages like PostScript. Because of this reason, there is a high possibility of a middleman attacking the network, or trying to gain access to it via the wireless channels.
A wireless printer can open doors for potential hackers with even more access points. With the help of WiFi, any hacker or attacker is capable of executing a harmful code by attaching it to a hostile network.
What Are The Possible Solutions?
It is essential to protect your wireless printer against multiple risks, the same way you would defend all other devices on the network. You can begin with a few primary steps to ensure the security of your printer, or even merely your server. This includes covering the vulnerable spots by updating the operating system of your printer, setting a new password routinely, and disconnecting from the services that aren’t being used.
Update Update Update!
By far, the most sound advice against these threats is to keep your printer’s operating system updated. On updating the security, you will fall prey to lesser risks while using a wireless printer. You might as well fix potential security breaches during the update.
Changing Passwords/Pins Regularly
It is crucial to change the PINs and passwords to the printer regularly. You must also refrain from setting the same password across multiple platforms. Both of these suggestions can help you avoid the risk of hackers breaching your security. While setting a new password, it is essential to prevent personal information in your password, which includes your birthdate, Social Security number, and other identifiers. Common passwords like ‘1234’ etc., which can be easily interpreted is a big no-no as well.
If you have previously used applications like Duo, you might have an idea about the two-factor authentication system. This system allows you to authenticate your identity through your phone or computer. You can execute this system on your printer by setting two-pin security. This will indicate to you every time you/someone else logs into the printer.
Also, make sure to turn off all the other services that are being used. When you disconnect these options, you will cut down the chances of someone hacking into your printer.
Adopt Additional Protective Measures
Using ACL or Access Control List is another protective measure you can take against printer hacking. It will help you protect the data you exchange through your WiFi network. By doing this, you can avoid intruders who make use of amateur tools, and implement it through a Syslog of all devices and protocols that are allowed where you’ll get a log of all hacking attempts.
There are many other tools you can use to protect your identity and data while using a wireless printer and WiFi network. It would help if you made an attempt to familiarize yourself with all of these protective measures. Many of our devices are easy to hack because of the rapid growth of network connectedness. Therefore, it is advisable to go the extra mile for the security of your devices, instead of relying on manufacturers.