All small businesses have them, home users love them. A $500 colour laser printer sure comes with a lot of options, but it’s important to configure them for least privilege and highest security. A small guide on the common features and how to secure them.
First off, you need to get your printer to talk with your MS Word. The most secure way? Good ol’ USB cable. It’s point-to-point, easy to visibly inspect. But, the world doesn’t work as nicely as the dot-matrix printers from the late 80s and early 90’s (shoutout to Daisy Wheels here). There’s a multitude of ways to get your print job to these modern machines:
- Networking – Ethernet cable (, usually 100Mbit or higher speeds)
- Networking – WiFi client of your wireless network
- Networking – WIFI Direct, serving as an access point unto itself
- NFC, or , Near Field Communication
- Google Print Cloud and other Cloud “Constant Connection”
- Have you Set the Administrator Password , away from the default?
The Administrator password allows for more than just control of the printer settings on the little touchscreen, it opens up a world of configuration and logs from within a web browser, once connected to the network
- Are you connecting in the most secure manner?
We recommend the following connection types in order of most to least secure. Verify and turn off unused methods.
- USB Cable, maybe just use an extender
- Ethernet Cable. Keep it off the airwaves if possible!
- Bluetooth – Set a new PIN occasionally
- NFC – If enabled, this is pretty secure in terms of radio emission distance, but it would expose you to risks of physical breach and 1000 page print jobs.
- I don’t even recommend Google Print Cloud or other print services. Nope.
- Do you review? How many print jobs in the last 1 month? How many colour? Can you verify that the cables are not tampered with at the rear of the printer? Is it still connected to the right WIFI network? Are unnecessary functions turned off?
- Keep your printer firmware up to date.
Still not completely secure.
Printers are like little powerful computers. There’s many ways to hack these devices, and they are very insidious. Only proper firewall isolation can protect these systems from vulnerabilities and detect when they have been compromised.