Keypad on a printer

Protect Your Printer Or Pay The Price

Cybercrime is a scourge which affects millions of us every year. I’ve written before about the steps you can take to defend yourself from scammers, but all the signs are that the rapid emergence of Artificial Intelligence will only make things worse.

I don’t want to worry anyone, but the recent annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, ended with a prediction from the podium that 93 per cent of experts believe a “catastrophic” cyber security event is likely in the next two years.

We’re told every day to look out for phishing attacks, dodgy emails and attempts to steal your personal information. But how many businesses take steps to protect their office equipment from being hacked?

Post-lockdown behaviour can let hackers in

Office security has entered a delicate new era, primarily thanks to Covid. Where once everyone was in one place for eight hours a day under the shield of system-wide IT protection, the post-lockdown world has swept that away.

Now, those same people work from coffee shops, their bedrooms or even their car, all feeding in remotely. This naturally makes keeping everything secure more difficult.

And while technology marches on to allow hybrid or remote working, some things stay the same. Multifunction printers, for example.  They copy, print, fax, scan, send emails, save to USB drives and put documents in the cloud. Something so versatile is very difficult to replace.

Some of the dangers are well known – leaving a document outlining a mass redundancy proposal on the photocopier for one of the secretaries to find is never a great idea in terms of lifting staff morale. But hackers have taken these perils to a whole different world.

The steps you can take to fight back

Masses of sensitive, business-critical information passes through the typical office printer every day. HR forms, letters, proposals, accounts – they need copying, sending, digitising or just printing out and having one machine to do it all makes perfect sense. But it also makes them a big target for cyber criminals.

So how can you defend against them?

The first thing you can do is talk to your staff about why this is such an important issue. They may well whinge about having to prove who they are with a security pass or a password every single time they want to print something out, but this simple step can prevent sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. And it also stops them sneaking back in at midnight to print out their 450 page novel at your expense.

The next step is to remember to frequently change your printer’s unique password. If your password is ‘Printer1!’ don’t be surprised if the cyber attackers find a way in. Printer passwords should be ridiculously complex, changed often and only given to people who actually need them.

Finally, make sure your IT team are all over this issue. They can ensure your Wi-Fi and network security are properly configured to stop criminals from gaining access to your printer. They can also make sure the printer’s anti-hacker software is up to date to give you the maximum amount of protection. A good security system will flag up viruses and any other abnormal activity before it’s too late.

Don’t get caught out – these simple steps could be the difference between a successful year and outright catastrophe.

Fair Contracts Associates

With 55 years in the industry, we know every trick in the trade and have been working hard to stamp out bad practice. We help buyers whatever stage of their purchase they’re at.

Here’s how we do it:

We offer a fully independent low fee contract checking service – so you know exactly what you’re getting and what you’re paying, before you sign anything.

We have a Fair Contract Charter so you can be completely confident your vetted and approved supplier will give you a fair and honest deal.

We take on the scammers for you. If you’re stuck in a bad contract we’ll help you renegotiate your terms and potentially save you thousands.

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