Friday, 17 October 2014

6 Ways To Protect Your Printer From Hackers

In the real world, the bad guys are called killers, burglars, robbers, miscreants and so on. In virtual world, the bad guys are called hackers and they are equally dangerous for both companies and individuals alike. A hacker is basically a person who has an extensive knowledge on computers, but decides to use his vast amount of IT knowledge in malevolent ways. As a result, he might be stealing money, identities, databases and everything which is valuable in the virtual world.

Still, this doesn’t mean that the security of every computer is compromised. There are antivirus programs and software that use passwords which block the access of these malevolent guys to precious information and databases. Such safety measures can also be successfully applied when it comes to printers too. If you would like to improve the security of your printers, manage them better and have more peace of mind in the future, here is what you can do.

Secure your network

If the Wi-Fi network is not secured properly then all the devices connected to it are in danger. This includes all the smartphones, tablets, laptops and of course, printers. To prevent hackers to exploit this and cause a lot of problems, printer owners should secure their Wi-Fi networks using a firewall, password, encryption techniques and so on. These safety measures can be applied using dedicate programs and they will stop hacking attempts as well as unauthorized access for a very long period of time.

Don’t use default passwords or ones that can be guessed easily

The default password for various devices including printers is 1234 or maybe 0000 or something similar. Obviously, this is not a very complicated password and again, it is set by default for ALL devices. In this case, it is a piece of cake for hackers to cause network problems, steal important information and so on. Similarly, passwords shouldn’t be very simple or easy to guess either. For example, having the birth date as a password is not a brilliant idea as anyone who uses his brain for a couple of seconds will eventually figure it out and gain access into the network.

Therefore, those who want to secure their printers should make use of more complicated passwords which contain capital letters, digits and even symbols. Such passwords are extremely difficult to break and they cannot be guessed by anyone in a thousand years.

Protect important documents after printing

Hackers and other malevolent people might want to steal important documents after they have been printed as well. This is called paper theft or document fraud and obviously, it should be prevented at all costs. Luckily, there are a lot of software programs on the market these days which can encrypt print jobs and improve the security system of a printer. As a result, employees or printer users might need to input their personal identification number (PIN) in order to use the printer or have access to print jobs.

Keep the network connection encrypted

When network connections are encrypted, they are safer and more protected against unauthorized access. It is like speaking on the phone with a friend and knowing that no one can ever hear your conversation. Connection encryptions are also quite varied and one should first do a little bit of research before putting them into practice. For example, WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2 are some of the best encryption methods out there and they are preferred over WEP. The WPA encryptions use passwords and passphrases in order to make the network connection safer and more protected.

Keep up with the printer's security updates

In some cases, printers are released on the market and after a couple of days or weeks, the IT experts discover that the printers have a couple of security issues which can be exploited by hackers. The experts will then fix these bugs and provide the fixes as driver updates. Computer users should never hesitate to take advantage of these updates because they will improve the security and stability of their printers and make them safer in the long run. Usually, computer users are alerted when a new security update is available to download by receiving an email or notification.

Control the printing environment

Just as there are software programs that can encrypt and protect print jobs, there are also a lot of software programs that control who can use printers, what they can print and what type of printers to use. Basically, these programs allow printer owners to manage their printer network easier and monitor all the printing activity with little to no effort. Also, these programs can enforce security goals and in the long run, save a lot of money on printing supplies.

We hope you will put some of these tips into practice and if you would like to invest in a brand new printer that has advanced security features, do let us know as we will be able to make the best recommendations on the models that will suit your needs.