Analysis

How to keep your printers secure

If you know that your business printers could be an entry point for hackers, what can you do to secure them?

In this video, HP's Security Specialist explains how the company has developed uniquely effective strategies for keeping its printers safe from cyber-attack. HP takes a different approach to securing its printers than other manufacturers. Instead of merely guarding the network on which the printers sit, HP printers have security built in from the base hardware upwards, starting with the printer's BIOS. This is protected with a technology called SureStart. The next level is the firmware, which is most likely to be susceptible to attack.

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Many companies don't realise what powerful computing is contained within a printer, and how readily this could be used to compromise the network. IT administrators may be conscientious about keeping printer firmware up to date. But they may not be so careful about where that firmware has come from. It could be a compromised version itself, and without monitoring, this could sit on the network for months, risking data theft, before anyone realises.

This is where SureStart comes in. By running a low-level check prior to loading the firmware, SureStart checks that the BIOS hasn't been compromised, then the firmware is authenticated and this is augmented by run-time intrusion detection. This checks the printer's behaviour against what it normally does during day-to-day activities. If these checks fail, then the printer will automatically reboot into a safe mode, and then SureStart will fix the BIOS. Best of all, this is just the foundation of HP's printer security, with further layers of protection and monitoring above.

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