Is Your Photocopier Spying on Your Business? That Depends on the Password

Lots of businesses are aware of cyber-security threats, and some of them take various precautions to secure computers of their employees. However, while it is vital to guard computers, it is also essential to secure all other machines connected to a company's network, including printers and photocopiers. A lot of sensitive and valuable information goes through such devices every day, and many hackers could be interested in it. Not to mention, an unprotected photocopier or a printer could serve as a gateway to a business's network and computers or other devices connected to it. In this blog post, we talk about why it is essential to know how to change a photocopier’s default password. Also, by reading it, you can learn about safety precautions that you should take if you want to guard your office's devices from hackers.

What are the risks of using default passwords?

Whether it is a photocopier or any other device connected to a company's network, it should get a new password as soon as it is ready to use. Default passwords are considered to be a weakness since it is not difficult to figure them out. Some of them can be guessed, while other default passwords can be found on the Internet if a hacker knows where to look for them. You may wonder what a cybercriminal could do with access to your office's photocopier. Sadly, the truth is that there are a lot of ways in which using a default password could backfire. First of all, just like printers, photocopies may have access to lots of sensitive data. Multiple departments can use such a device, and, consequently, a lot of different data could go through an office's photocopier.

How to protect your photocopiers, printers, and devices alike?

It does not look like a need to protect such devices will decrease any time soon. According to Quocirca's report, 91% of US and EU organizations still rely on print in their business processes, and 87% of them believe that print will continue to hold an important role for the next two years to come. Also, it was said that 66% of respondents named print as one of their top five security risks. Which does not come as a surprise if you know that print-related weaknesses are the cause of 11% of all security incidents.

Thus, knowing how to secure printers and similar devices like photocopiers should be essential for all companies, no matter their size. Without further ado, here are the top security precautions an organization can take.

Changing default passwords

As discussed earlier, in this blog post, default passwords make photocopiers and printers vulnerable to hacking. Therefore, the first thing a company should do after getting such devices is changing their default passwords. Naturally, the same goes for old photocopiers if a company never bothered changing their default passwords. If you want to know how to change a photocopier's default password properly, you should have a look at the section available below these tips.

Getting the latest updates

Photocopiers and devices alike also have operating systems and features that need to be updated, just like the software on a computer. Usually, updates patch weaknesses that could be used to gain access to a device or a program. Consequently, cyber-security specialists advise installing firmware and other available updates as soon as possible.

Restricting access

Some printers and photocopiers have functions that allow restricting access to specific settings. For example, the device may allow choosing who can reset it to factory defaults. Making sure that an outsider could not reset devices to factory defaults is essential, because factory reset would change current passcodes with default passwords. As mentioned earlier, default passwords are not difficult to come by, which means that unrestricted access to a photocopier could allow hackers to remove its security features.

Deleting data from hard drives

Printers and machines alike have hard drives in which they store all data that goes through them. As you can imagine, a lot of sensitive information could accumulate over time, and if hackers manage to access it, a huge data breach could occur. Data breaches not only cost a lot but also may ruin a company's reputation. To ensure this does not happen to your business, you should make sure your employees dispose of hard drives of printers and photocopiers properly before replacing them. Some devices allow erasing data from their hard drives regularly, for example, every month, so it is a feature worth looking into.

Securing a company's network

Another essential thing to take care of is to secure your business's network. While sometimes unprotected machines allow accessing the network they are connected to, it can go the other way around too. Apparently, print works can be sent to server queue until they get printed and if hackers gain access to a business's network, they could possibly access this server, pause the queue, and copy printing material. This way, an organization's sensitive information could fall into the hands of cybercriminals.

How to change a photocopier's default password?

No doubt, the process could differ depending on what kind of photocopier your company owns and who created it. In other words, the best way to change a default passcode is to follow the instructions that come with photocopiers. What is more important is that you know how to change your photocopier's default password with a secure passcode. Ideally, the combination should be nearly impossible to hack. Currently, specialists recommend using more than 12 characters that ought to include both lower-case and upper-case letters, symbols, and numbers. A secure combination should not contain any words that could be associated with a company or its employees. For example, using the organization's title or names of its owners would be a bad idea. Such information can be easily found on the Internet, and it is the first thing hackers would try to hack into targeted business's systems.

If you do not think you can set up a secure passcode despite knowing how to change your office's photocopier's default password with a robust combination, you have two options. First, you could leave this task to your organization's IT team. The other way is to use a dedicated password manager that could generate strong and random passwords for you. If you have not tried Cyclonis Password Manager yet, we recommend giving it a chance. The application not only allows generating secure passcodes from up to 32 characters but is also free to use. Besides, it can offer various other features that could help you manage your work passwords with ease. Cyclonis not only generates robust passwords but can also memorize them for you.

Passcodes of accounts that can be reached online are saved in the Websites section, while login credentials of applications' or devices' could be stored in Private Notes. All of the information entrusted to this password manager is saved on an encrypted vault that a user can set up on a chosen device or cloud storage. For more information on Cyclonis, we recommend reading here.

All in all, there are quite a few precautions companies can take to stop hackers from accessing their photocopiers and printers. If you have no idea where to start, we recommend considering the tips we listed in this blog post. However, to ensure maximum security, it is vital to conduct a comprehensive security assessment that would allow determining all potential security vulnerabilities that an organization's machines may have. To complete this task as well as remove the discovered weaknesses, a business could entrust its own IT department or employ reputable cyber-security experts.

September 27, 2019

Leave a Reply