March 16th, 2021 by Steve Kelley
In 2019, the online training platform Skillbox sent a rogue print job to unsecured network printers. To do that, they relied on a search tool called Shodan that discovers vulnerable Internet-connected devices. It was the very same tool that a prankster known as HackerGiraffe had used to hijack 50,000 network printers a few months earlier.
Both HackerGiraffe and Skillbox used Shodan for benign purposes. One was to promote a YouTube channel. The other was to print out flyers for a new design course. But, what’s worrying is that they were able to breach the defenses of security-conscious organizations.
Every few months, an equally high-profile—and much more serious—cyberattack makes headlines. This serves as an urgent reminder to federal governments and their agencies to reinforce their security infrastructures.
Often, government printing and print management are forgotten in that process. A Spiceworks study found that just 22% of organizations actively monitor their printer syslogs. Furthermore, only 13% integrate their printers into security information and event management (SIEM) tools. A 2019 Quocirca Global Print Security report found that nearly 60% of organizations had suffered a print-related data loss in the past year.
What explains that mismatch? Why are the vulnerabilities of printers and print management software frequently overlooked? And more importantly, what can federal IT officials do to fix things?
The three most common print security mistakes
To answer those questions, it’s important to first identify where government printing often goes wrong.
Lack of awareness
Printers have been around for ages. That leads even tech-savvy people to see them as part of the furniture. But, of course, they’re not “dumb” at all. Like IoT devices, they’re connected to the network 24-7. This exposes all of their vulnerabilities to the network.
Using outdated legacy technology
When a printer is working like it should, it becomes an afterthought. From a print management standpoint, admins often hold off on updating printer drivers for fear of breaking functionality. This leaves the print environment riddled with exploitable, out-of-date software.
It’s one thing to have tons of secure print safeguards in place. It’s another thing to make sure your end users actually utilize them. That’s one reason why phishing attacks are still t he most effective way of breaching IT security.
Security-conscious organizations take these mistakes seriously. They treat them more like outright threats to a secure print environment. Function4's next-generation print management software is a valuable tool for addressing those threats.
Streamline printing while hardening security
The US Department of Defense and the US Department of Homeland Security trust PrinterLogic’s serverless printing infrastructure. More than 40 other federal entities use PrinterLogic to keep their print environments safe.
That’s not just because PrinterLogic offers dedicated secure print functionality. PrinterLogic’s streamlined print management allows IT to monitor the print environment more easily, as well as keep it up to date.
Secure print management by design
Function4 & PrinterLogic’s Direct IP printing platform is inherently secure, keeping print jobs local. There are other federal security features that are worth noting as well.
FIPS 140-2 compliance
As the first print management software company to be independently tested and meet the FIPS 140-2 standard, PrinterLogic is a perfect solution for data-sensitive sectors.
Advanced reporting & monitoring
Function4 & PrinterLogic’s Admin Console lets federal IT officials supervise and control the entire print environment from a single pane of glass. That includes updating drivers using a common repository. And it all happens safely behind the organization’s firewall.
Secure release printing
CAC/PIV is a tried-and-tested secure printing method in government printing. PrinterLogic’s CAC/PIV solution works with your existing printers. Not only is it easy to implement and, it also empowers your end users to conveniently release their print jobs from any printer.
On top of that, Function4 & PrinterLogic’s unique direct IP printing platform makes it possible to eliminate print servers. Doing so reduces the attack surface by design and thwarts malicious actors.
Function4 & PrinterLogic is ideal for government printing
As long as IT networks exist, there will be people who try to exploit their weaknesses to steal data.
By avoiding the common mistakes in print security, Function4 & PrinterLogic helps eliminate those vulnerabilities. With inherently secure software, you’ll prevent your organization from becoming a statistic. Our print management software is a proven solution for government printing that simultaneously streamlines, simplifies and hardens your print environment to protect it against attacks.
Interested in eliminating all of your print servers?
We deliver a highly available Serverless Printing Infrastructure using a centrally managed Direct IP printing platform. If you want to empower end users with mobile printing, secure release printing, and many advanced features, we’d love to show you how.
Visit Function4 and contact an advisor below to learn more today!