Printer Security

printer security vulnerabilities

Printer security is an important aspect of overall information security in an organization. Printers, like other networked devices, can be vulnerable to various security threats.

Are you aware of the various printer security vulnerabilities? In today’s technologically advanced world, most personal and corporate printers do more than just print documents. They are IoT devices that are capable of much more (IoT Security). But, with these capabilities, come more risks and vulnerabilities. Being connected to the network, and almost every other device on the network, makes printers the perfect entry point for bad actors due to their public accessibility.

Printer security is a critical concern in the realm of IoT devices. IoT printers are vulnerable to hardware attacks – specifically, network implants. These malicious devices sit on the Physical Layer, going undetected by existing security solutions. This can cause a number of perilous consequences which can seriously harm an organization.

Printer Security

Printers are seemingly innocuous devices, which makes them even more harmful since cybersecurity is not as seriously applied to these devices. Due to their apparently harmless nature, they are not typically on the radar of corporate cybersecurity teams. According to a survey by Spiceworks, only 16% of IT industry respondents think that printers are at high risk of a security breach (Unlocked Doors – pdf). Furthermore, 43% of surveyed companies ignore printers in their endpoint security approach. It is crucial to be aware of printer security vulnerabilities.

Every organization will have multiple printers at the office and are therefore an appealing target for malicious actors. Printers are often a target in cyberattacks on banks, as there are many printer security vulnerabilities – but all organizations are at risk… (The Print Security Landscape, 2023)

What You Print is What They Get

Document Theft

Most printers have internal storage where they stow print jobs, scans, copies, and faxes. An attacker targeting a printer can recover these documents and use them to harm the organization, or even sell them on the dark web for a considerable amount. This data breach can have serious consequences for the victim, including hefty legal fines and a damaged reputation (The State of Printer Security).

Changed Settings

An attacker might set out to change the settings on a printer to reroute print jobs in order to obtain confidential information. Changed settings can also allow the perpetrator to open saved copies of documents. Additionally, the settings can be reset to the default settings which wipes any changes made by the organization, including security changes. By altering the settings of the printer, an attacker can cause a crippling data breach (Quocirca Print Security Landscape, 2023).


Another way in which a data breach can be caused is whereby the attacker eavesdrops and/or captures documents sent from the computer to the printer. By sitting on the network, an implant can gain access to the network printer traffic and obtain potentially sensitive information (Man in the Middle Attack).

Network Infiltration

By accessing a network-connected printer, the attacker can move laterally across the network to other unsecured devices. This can allow the perpetrator to cause more damage than if they were to just target the printer. If sensitive data is not found on the printer, by infiltrating the network the attacker might discover confidential information elsewhere and the printer simply serves as an access point (Unmanaged Switch).

DDoS Attack

An attacker might target a printer to incorporate it into a botnet in order to carry out a DDoS attack, causing the printer to stop working. It is simple for an attacker to take advantage of printer vulnerabilities (Researchers warn of severe risks from ‘Printjack’ printer attacks).

Malware Installation

Through an attack, a perpetrator can install malware on the printer to control it remotely or gain access to it. This can subsequently result in a data breach or further network infiltration.

Printer Security: Strengthening Cyber Defenses with Sepio’s

Heavy spending on cybersecurity should bring a high return on investment, yet gaps in visibility limit this. Sepio’s asset risk management platform provides a panacea to gaps in device visibility to ensure you are getting the most out of your cybersecurity investments. Sepio’s integrates with existing solutions, such as NAC, EPS, SIEM and SOAR, to enhance the organization’s cybersecurity posture. Sepio’s assets visibility capabilities mean no device goes unmanaged. The platform identifies, detects, and handles all IT/OT/IoT devices. Moreover, Sepio’s policy enforcement mechanism and rogue device Mitigation capabilities instantly block any unapproved or rogue hardware. In doing so, ultimately, Sepio’s enables a Zero Trust Hardware Access approach which stops attackers at the first line of defense.

Evidently, printer security vulnerabilities should be a major cause for cybersecurity concern. Printers are often one of the weakest links of an organization. So, what you print is not just what you get. You might be giving an attacker their next pay check (Watch Sepio video: Printer Hacked).

See every known and shadow asset. Prioritize and mitigate risks.
Talk to an expert. It will help you understand how to use Sepio’s patented technology to gain control of your asset risks.

January 5th, 2021