Unlike with PCs and software, it’s not well known among IT professionals that office printers make easy targets for hackers. Just like a PCs, they are connected to the network. But unlike PCs, they often have minimal or no restrictions to keep digital spies and thieves at bay.
A recent HP-sponsored Spiceworks survey found 43 percent of IT professionals surveyed in North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific say that they completely ignore printers in their endpoint security practices. Just 16 percent see printers as being at risk for a data breach.
Despite mounting evidence that hackers are increasingly targeting connected hardware instead of software, organizations’ IT departments continue to prioritize OS and application security over the office printer fleet.
HP is looking to change that, which is why it’s committed to engineering the most secure printers in the world. Part of that effort includes sounding the alarm and demonstrating just how important endpoint security is for the modern enterprise.
Today, during a well-attended security influencer event at its offices in London, the company invited tech press and analysts to get the full picture of why printer security is at the forefront of its hardware and software strategy.
At the summit, HP also announced the availability of a new lineup of security-optimized A3 multifunction printers (MFPs), the first in a series of HP’s advances into the A3 market – an opportunity that’s pegged at approximately $55 billion.
“Despite what people believe, security issues aren’t limited to computers and networks,” said David Ryan, vice president and general manager of HP’s printer business in EMEA. “Today’s printers look a whole lot like PCs, and need to be protected accordingly.”
To underscore the point, HP invited a host of security experts at its two-day London summit to discuss the new A3 MFPs in action and learn about the future of printer security. Reformed hacker Michael Calce, aka “Mafiaboy,” keynoted the forum along with a host of other HP leaders.
Calce is best known for taking down some of the world’s largest e-commerce sites and a major search engine when he was just 15 years old. While he launched his attacks through more conventional paths, Calce now views printers and other Internet-connected devices as one of the most concerning vulnerabilities open to hacking.
“Printers are everywhere in organizations, and they’re a wide-open prairie where hackers will roam free if companies don’t put the proper obstacles in their way,” says Calce. “That’s why it’s so important for companies like HP to build automated security into next-generation imaging devices.”"Mafiaboy" Michael Calce
The new lineup of A3 devices, which HP said are already shipping to customers, are no exception. In addition to making improvements that both lower the costs of printing and servicing of A3 machines, HP has integrated its own security offerings to create a breakthrough portfolio with the industry’s best device, document and data security.
“Modern printers are fully functioning clients on networks, just like PCs, making them clearly as vulnerable to attack as any connected device,” said Nick Lazaridis, president of HP’s EMEA operations. “We’ve completely reinvented our A3 copiers to better detect and halt attacks that could take down entire networks or companies.”
The refreshed A3 MFPs lineup is set to include some of the world’s most advanced printer security features:
- HP SureStart: This feature validates the integrity of BIOS and firmware when a printing and imaging device boots up, then reverts to a safe or “golden copy” mode if it finds the system has been corrupted.
- Whitelisting: A security measure that ensures only authentic, certified HP code is loaded into memory and reboots the printer if anomalies are detected, returning it to a safe state.
- Run-Time Intrusion Detection: This safeguard constantly checks for anomalies and automatically reboots the machine if an attack is identified, effectively eliminating the threat.
- HP JetAdvantage Security Manager: An attribute that automatically ensures the company’s security policies are enforced on printers when they are deployed.
Taken individually, any one of these features could help organizations close a critical gap in their IT security strategies. But by packaging them together, along with a host of other encryption and consulting services, HP is delivering a tightly knit collection of “self-healing” capabilities to automatically safeguard printers and office networks.
The three PageWide platforms and 13 LaserJet platforms in the A3 roster benefit from a new, cloud-based proprietary data analytics agent called HP Smart Device Services (SDS). This monitors, tests and diagnoses service needs across the A3 line, increasing overall efficiency. The HP PageWide Enterprise and Pro platforms also make color printing more affordable while providing best-in-class print speeds.
To learn more about the A3 printers and their capabilities, click here. HP's A3 MFP portfolio