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The 11 Points of Vulnerability in a Modern Print Network

April 30, 2019

The 11 Points of Vulnerability in a Modern Print Network

April 30, 2019

The global cost of cybercrime continues to climb at an alarming rate. In 2017 alone, costs eclipsed $600 billion. And by 2021, analysts predict the cost of cybercrime will reach $6 trillion globally.


These reports come in spite of the fact that global cybersecurity spending continues to increase as well. Gartner reports that security spending in 2019 will reach $124 billion.

Even as you invest heavily in cybersecurity, attackers are finding a way to compromise businesses of all industries and sizes. And the main issue is that investing in new security tools doesn’t necessarily shore up the hidden vulnerabilities across your network.

One hidden vulnerability that goes unnoticed far too often is print security. Just 16% of companies view printers as a significant security risk even though 68% have suffered at least one printer-related attack.

Now that network-connected printers have become the norm, you need to be ready to defend against a whole new slate of vulnerabilities that didn’t exist with your traditional devices ― HP Print Security Solutions from ETS can help.


11 Ways Attackers Can Compromise Your Printers


When printers were simple devices with direct connections to computers, all you had to worry about was protecting physical documents. As long as no one stole sensitive documents from the print tray, you had print security covered.

But now that your entire fleet of printers depends entirely on network connectivity, you can’t expect maximum performance and workforce productivity without striking a balance with security.

Without the right tools and processes in place, you’re giving attackers an easy path to compromise your network and launch costly data breaches. But before you can address print security, you need to know the following 11 ways that modern print infrastructure can expose your network:


  • Data Capture: MFPs that act as hubs for sensitive documents can quickly become single points of failure for attackers to compromise.
  • Cloud Access: Like any other instance of cloud connectivity, opening printers up to the public internet can make it easier for malicious, unauthorized users to find an entry point to your network.
  • Control Panels: Physical access points can be tampered with to disable or otherwise misconfigure your print infrastructure and wider network.
  • Ports and Protocols: Network connectivity comes with ports and protocols that create a wider attack surface to exploit — even if you think they’re technically secure.
  • Input Trays: Special media and sensitive documents can be stolen in person if left unattended in input trays.
  • Output Trays: Print jobs that aren’t picked up in a timely manner are at risk of physical theft, just like with unattended input trays.
  • Network Connectivity: Workforce productivity benefits from network-connected printers. But putting data in transit means print jobs can be compromised before they reach an endpoint.
  • Security Mismanagement: If you aren’t monitoring print security effectively, attackers can compromise blind spots across your infrastructure.
  • Mobile Printing: When employees access your print infrastructure via mobile devices, you’re at risk of inadvertent data exposure that never existed with traditional printers.
  • BIOS and Firmware: Unpatched vulnerabilities at the hardware level can often go unnoticed and give attackers footholds in your network.
  • Storage Media: Some network-connected printers include internal drives and hard disks that can be compromised if you don’t take the proper steps to secure storage.


If this is the first time you’ve taken a serious look at print security, this list of vulnerabilities may seem like a lot to have to address. However, the right solutions can help you harden your modern print infrastructure and keep attackers at bay.


Mitigate the Vulnerabilities in Your Print Infrastructure


Securing your print infrastructure is a bit different than defending typical network vulnerabilities. You can’t just load the perimeter of your network with more security solutions and hope that they cover your print infrastructure, too.

By deploying the world’s more secure printing solutions, you can address all 11 vulnerabilities without having to pile more work on your IT team.

As an HP Gold Partner, we’re here to help you deploy the best HP Print Security Solutions for your modern printing needs and secure your network in the process. If you’re ready to shore up the hidden vulnerabilities in your print infrastructure, check out our new resources.