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๐Ÿ“š Is your print environment secure? Hereโ€™s why it should be your 2024 priority


๐Ÿ’ก Newskategorie: IT Security Nachrichten
๐Ÿ”— Quelle: cio.com

For its 2023 Security Priorities report, Foundry surveyed 790 IT security workers to understand their projects and priorities. Its conclusions were less than optimal.

โ€œThe adversaries, at least for now, have the upper hand on many global organisations,โ€ the report concluded. Worse, it said โ€œadversaries are accelerating and widening their range of sophisticated attacks at scale through automation, cybercrime-as-a-service models, impersonations and adaptation.โ€

One component of corporate IT that has long been โ€˜in rangeโ€™ for cyber criminals that is often overlooked when protection measures are being put in place are multifunction printers โ€“ widely used in almost every organisation. Printers are often not subject to the rigorous security measures routinely applied to computing devices; for example, complex passwords and rigorous patching and software update regimes.

Market insight and research firm, Quocirca, reports in its Global Print Security Landscape 2023 report โ€” based on a survey of 507 IT decision makers in the US and Europe โ€” that 61 percent of those surveyed have experienced data loss related to unsecured printing; 39 percent say it is becoming harder to keep up with print security demands and 79 percent expect to increase print security spending over the coming year.

Quocirca acknowledged many instances of data loss through unsecured printing were simply the result of printed output falling into the wrong hands. However, there are many ways printer security can be compromised by a cyber attack, and these vulnerabilities are often overlooked.

All data that appears in printed output passes through the printer in digital format with the potential for compromise. Much of it could be highly sensitive or confidential, though printers are often not treated as devices holding sensitive data.

Also, printers are a shared resource so are widely connected in corporate networks, making them potentially open to attack through various avenues and useable as attack vectors for access to sensitive data and other systems.

Robust printer security is not rocket science; it is largely a matter of recognising that the security measures (technologies, policies, etc) routinely applied to computing systems and other infrastructure should be applied to printers. Fortunately, there are tools available to deal with the specific security challenges presented by printers.

The Environment

Quocirca found evidence that security teams do not give printer security the attention required. It found a worrying gulf between CISOsโ€™ and CIOsโ€™ concerns about printing security. Only 28 percent of CISOs believe it has become harder to keep up with print security challenges, compared to 50 percent of CIOs. And only 45 percent of CISOs were very or somewhat concerned about the risks of unsecured printers, compared to 72 percent of CIOs.

Given the many other security challenges and priorities faced by CISOs this is perhaps unsurprising. The Foundry survey found three significant challenges forcing security leaders to redirect their focus: meeting governance and compliance regulations; budgetary constraints/demonstrating RoI and employee awareness and training issues.

Quocirca said this disconnect between the views of CIOs and CISOs on print security could prevent companies from determining the true level of risk. It said independent, in-depth risk assessments were essential to give senior leaders objective evidence of print security gaps across devices and document workflows and enable consensus on the actions needed to protect the enterprise.

Looking ahead, there are some positive signs of trends apparent in IT security in general that also embrace printer security. The implementation of zero trust principles discussed below, could have a very positive impact. Zero trust is still not widely deployed, but that is changing. According to Gartner, zero trust is top of mind for most organisations as a critical strategy to reduce risk, but few have actually followed zero trust principles. Gartner predicts that, by 2026, 10 percent of large enterprises will have a mature and measurable zero trust program in place, up from less than one percent at the start of 2023.

The Solution

Many of the measures needed to beef up printer security are the same as those for other computing devices and infrastructure, but can be easier to implement and maintain on printers, such as:

  • Always keeping software up-to-date;
  • Keeping authorised access credentials to the minimum required;
  • Using complex passwords;
  • Aiming to keep only a minimum amount of information such as historical job data and user email addresses on the printer.
  • Doing penetration testing. This blog, written by an experienced penetration tester, provides great detail of how โ€œduring an internal infrastructure penetration test โ€ฆ what initially looked like a not-so-important low severity finding turned out to be the key to fully compromising the Windows domain the printers were attached to.โ€ Its title โ€œDude! Itโ€™s just a printer!โ€ encapsulates the low priority often assigned to printer security.
  • Segmenting the network: creating a dedicated subnet or VLAN for printers and making sure only authorised users or devices can access this VLAN reduces the risk of unauthorised access and, even if access is gained, it limits the ability of the attacker to infect other systems with malware.
  • Using zero trust. With zero-trust security principles no device or connection is trusted by default โ€“ every access request is verified before access is granted. According to Gartner โ€œzero trust as a security paradigm that explicitly identifies users and devices and grants them just the right amount of access so the business can operate with minimal friction while risks are reduced.โ€

In addition to generic security measures, there are tools available designed specifically to provide enhanced security to all aspects of printing. uniFLOW is one such tool offered by Canon. It has many features to counter security risks that are specific to multifunction printers.

To protect information held in or passing through the printer administrators can specify keywords indicative of sensitive information and can be informed when any document containing a keyword is printed, scanned, faxed, copied or sent. The administrator can also restrict duplication of documents containing keywords.

Access to printers can be restricted to individual users or groups. Print jobs in transit can be encrypted until they reach their intended print device.

Canon puts security at the heart of all its printing products, ensuring they comply with data privacy and endpoint security standards. uniFLOW is available in Canonโ€™s imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX Series of multifunction printers along with multiple security measures.

The hardware and embedded software are verified at each start-up to ensure the printer has not been tampered with. If an anomaly is detected, the system either self-repairs or halts operation. There are multiple features to restrict access to documents to only authorised users, and whenever the printer is operating Trellixโ€™s McAfeeยฎ Embedded Control monitors applications and programs operating on the device to help protect against attack.

Canonโ€™s latest generation of imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX series multifunction printers are designed for the modern business: one that doesnโ€™t underestimate the importance of printer security in the digital landscape. Monette Gerrand, IT Application Delivery Manager for Canon Oceania, talks about how the latest range of business printers redefine printer security, from system verification at start-up to real-time threat detection using McAfee embedded control. Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/fWueW5lRfIY

To find out more about Canonโ€™s Security Solutions, visit https://www.canon.co.nz/business/information-and-data-security. Or to learn more about how its latest business printers are helping businesses be real world ready head to Security | Canon New Zealand

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