Is Your Copier Being Hunted by Wolves?


Are your SMB's copiers safe from outside threats, or do you need to bump up your security? 

Hey there Little Red Riding Hood
You sure are looking good.
You're everything a big bad wolf could want

Babe's in the wood (pun intended) need to watch out for wolves.

Wolves? Riding Hood? What are you talking about, Dave?

Wolves, like hackers, are smart – that's why they're excellent hunters. They don't go after the strong – they go after the weak and the slow.

Hewlett-Packard created a mini-movie series, starring Christian Slater, about the security perils of unsecured office equipment – your copiers and printers particularly.

The series is call The Wolf. And, unlike the wolf in the song, bad wolves won't be good. 

Why should you care? If your copiers and printers are “walking in the woods alone,” you could be stalked by a wolf.

Setting aside the metaphor for a moment, if you don't include your copiers and printers in your security strategy then your network could be hacked and your business could lose information, be held for ransom, or suffer whatever harm the hacker chooses to inflict.

“Last year, over 4 billion data records were compromised worldwide. A 400% increase over the previous two years.”

There are four ways your copiers and printers can expose your company to a data breach.

Unclaimed Output

Any time confidential documents are left in the print output tray, there's a risk of a data breach. Anyone can walk up, remove the document, and do with it what they will. This could be embarrassing – HR leaving everyone's salary at the copier. It could also be damaging – what if an office visitor grabbed a spreadsheet with personally identifiable information about your customers? 

Follow me printing is a great way to ensure prints are released at the device. Watch the video for an overview of how it works.

Wistia video thumbnail - PaperCut Follow Me Printing

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The Copier Hard Drive

The hard drive on your copier, if not secured, is a potential goldmine of information for cybercriminals. Copiers cache images of prints, scans, and copies – think criminals would like to get their hands on copies of checks and credit card numbers? Read more in 6 Potential Security Cracks Caused by Your Copier.

Unauthorized Access to MFP Functions

If you don't lock down your copier, print jobs can be altered or rerouted as well as access documents on the hard drive. Different attacks could download copies of scanned documents, emails, and user access credentials (like passwords).

Do you know these 12 copier security issues? Because hackers are like wolves; they go after the weak.

Network Security Risk

From a Quocirca report, Print Security: An Imperative in the IoT Era (Internet of Things), “Jobs sent to the MFP for printing typically sit unprotected on the server queue. At this stage, the printing queue can be paused and files copied and the queue restarted. In the worst case, a user from the outside can obtain confidential information, or place malware on the device. Open network ports also present a security risk enabling the MFP to be hacked remotely via an Internet connection. Printers can therefore be prime targets of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Further, if data transmitted to a printer is unencrypted, hackers are potentially able to access this data.”

Don't treat your network-connected copiers and printers like babes in the wood. Include them in your security plan. Not convinced any real harm could come from cybercriminals hacking into your copiers? Take a peek at the video. You might be surprised at how vulnerable you could be.


For anyone interested, Little Red Riding Hood has been covered by quite a few acts since Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs: The Animals, The Royal Guardsmen, 999, and The Meteors to name a few. And, no, I don't ALWAYS listen to Jimmy Buffett!

About The Author

Dave Quint, president and CEO of Advanced Systems Inc. and past president of BTA Mid-America. Dave has worked with copiers, MFPs, scanners, and document workflow software since joining Advanced Systems as a sales associate in 1989. His favorite part of the job -- “there is no greater joy than to see the positive impact these solutions have in our client’s businesses.’ You press print, we take care of the rest. Contact us for more information >>