Printers and Copiers, Security

5 Cyber Threats Printers Face: An Insight into STRID

September 19, 2023
5 Cyber Threats Printers Face An Insight Into STRID 5 Cyber Threats Printers Face An Insight Into STRID

In the age of interconnected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity is not limited to computers and mobile devices. Printers, often overlooked, are susceptible to a variety of cyber threats, especially if they are connected to a network. Using the STRID model, let's explore five prominent types of threats that can compromise printer security.

ManagedPrint helps companies avoid common cyber attack issues as part of our comprehensive managed print offering. Here are 5 areas where printers may see attacks coming from a cyber-criminal.

1. Spoofing

Definition: Spoofing refers to the unauthorized impersonation of a device or user on a network. In terms of printers, it means a malicious entity could pretend to be a legitimate printer or send commands as if they were from a legitimate source.

Printer Vulnerability: A hacker could use spoofing to gain unauthorized access to a network through a printer. Once the printer is spoofed, the attacker could intercept confidential documents or introduce malware into the network.

Prevention: Regularly update the printer firmware. Manufacturers often release updates to fix known vulnerabilities. Implementing network access controls and using secure printing methods (requiring authentication for printing) can also deter spoofing attempts.

2. Tampering

Definition: Tampering involves the unauthorized alteration of data. This could mean changing the content of a document, altering print settings, or even manipulating the software controls of the printer.

Printer Vulnerability: A tampered printer could print out documents with incorrect or maliciously altered information. For instance, consider a scenario in a corporate environment where financial reports are altered via printer tampering, leading to disastrous consequences.

Prevention: Restrict physical access to the printer. Only authorized personnel should have the capability to alter printer settings. Additionally, using encrypted connections for sending print jobs can ensure data integrity.

3. Repudiation

Definition: Repudiation involves an attacker carrying out an action and then denying it. In the context of printers, it means sending a print job or altering printer settings and then claiming innocence.

Printer Vulnerability: An attacker could misuse the printer—such as printing inappropriate material—and then deny any involvement. This can lead to mistrust within an organization and potential legal implications if sensitive material is involved.

Prevention: Use printer logs to keep a detailed record of all print jobs and configuration changes. With proper logging, it becomes challenging for anyone to deny their actions.

4. Information Disclosure

Definition: This is the unintentional exposure of confidential information. Printers can become a source of information leakage if not appropriately secured.

Printer Vulnerability: Often, printed documents are left in the output tray, exposing them to anyone passing by. Additionally, some printers store a copy of printed documents temporarily, which could be accessed by attackers.

Prevention: Implement secure print release mechanisms where users must authenticate at the printer before documents are released. Regularly clear the printer's internal memory and ensure hard drives are encrypted if the printer comes with storage capability.

5. Denial of Service (DoS)

Definition: A DoS attack aims to disrupt the normal functioning of a system, making it unavailable to users. For printers, it means overwhelming the printer with commands or data, causing it to crash or become inoperable.

Printer Vulnerability: A printer under a DoS attack could constantly reboot, refuse legitimate print jobs, or print endless streams of gibberish, wasting resources.

Prevention: Configure firewalls to restrict unnecessary incoming traffic to the printer. Regular firmware updates can also help, as manufacturers might patch vulnerabilities that could be exploited in DoS attacks.

Trust ManagedPrint with your Print Security

While printers might seem like simple devices, their connectivity to networks makes them potential entry points for cyberattacks. By understanding the STRID threats and implementing preventive measures, organizations can significantly reduce the risk posed by these often-overlooked devices.