How To Secure Your Wireless Printer

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Updated June 27, 2022

Security awareness both at home and at the organizational level seems to be gaining some ground. However, some of the potential security loopholes for hackers and cybercriminals remain neglected. Did you know that cybercriminals could get access to your home or company network through your printer?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Printers have become an easy alternative for hackers to breach security and access passwords, files, documentation, images, and other intellectual property.
  • Avoid connecting your printer to a public hotspot: if you have to use your printer, make sure it’s only connected to your router.
  • If you offer access to clients and guests to access your wireless network, you must create a guest network solely for this function.

Harmless as it may seem, your top-rated printer is a common gateway for hackers to gain access to your company or home network. It doesn’t matter if you use a PIN code or you just updated your network security features.

Due to improved security by companies on Wi-Fi and mobile access, printers have become an easy alternative for hackers to breach security and access passwords, files, documentation, images, and other intellectual property.

What can Hackers do with Wireless Printer Access?

Having unprotected wireless printer access is like leaving your home front door wide open. You should know how wireless printers work so that you understand that once Cybercriminals get access to your wireless printer, they can do all sorts of damage, including:

  • Send unauthorized print tasks.
  • Get access to sensitive or confidential documents that might be stored in your printer.
  • Launch DDoS attacks.

Fortunately, printer owners can secure their printers by regularly advancing their security options.

Preventing Wireless Security Threats

While printer security often feels like a low-level breach, it is just one of the many ways unauthorized individuals can get access to your network. Here are a few things you can do to enhance your printer security.

  1. Password protect your printer: To prevent unauthorized access, ensure that your printer has a password, especially if it has wireless printing capabilities.
  2. Update your software and drivers: Today, most manufacturers will regularly send out driver and software updates to ensure users are secured from the latest security threats. A rule of thumb is to always look out for security updates and keep your systems updated.
  3. Avoid connecting your printer to a public hotspot: if you have to use your printer, make sure it’s only connected to your router. Depending on your printer, it will have a security feature to restrict access to only users on your home network. Connecting your printer to a public network will give printer access to anyone logged in.
  4. Secure your printing ports: Perhaps the most straightforward way unauthorized users can access your printer is through unsecured ports. It is therefore essential to only enable printing protocols that you intend to use. For instance, IPPS Protocol via SSL Port 443 is the standard security protocol set on new printers. You can leave this open. Any other optional protocol might expose you to hackers.
  5. Create a guest network: If you offer access to clients and guests on a wireless network, you must create a guest network solely for this function. This means that your clients or guests will have access to the internet but not your primary network. If you are unsure how to go about this, contact your internet service provider.
  6. Include a firewall: Your wireless printer needs a secure firewall. Windows users have an inbuilt firewall. However, make sure it is enabled at all times. A firewall works by protecting un-used protocols that can give remote access to hackers to your printer from an outside network. Now that your wireless printer is secure, you can connect it with your laptop and enjoy printing.

How to Disable Network Printing

Perhaps the most common method unauthorized persons can get access to your wireless printer and ultimately compromise your data is through a shared network. Therefore, it’s wise to make sure that you review and disable anything that might promote printing over the network.

This includes configuring your network setting to ensure that your printer only responds to commands through your network router.

Depending on your printer’s make and model, you can do this by:

  • Disabling your printer from printing through HTTP from the Windows registry settings.
  • Locating and switching off your wireless printing settings through your printer’s control panel.
  • Always turn off your printer when you are not using it.

F.A.Q.S

Can hackers get access to my network through my wireless printer?

Yes. Due to enhanced security by companies on Wi-Fi and mobile access, printers have become an easy alternative for hackers to breach security and get access to passwords, files, documentation, images, and other intellectual property.


How do I secure my wireless printer?

The best way to secure your printer is by Password-protecting it, updating your software and drivers, avoid connecting your printer to a hotspot, and enabling your firewall.


Can you password protect a wireless printer?

Yes. It is possible to password protect your wireless printer. Some manufacturers have developed in-built password protection. While Windows doesn’t have a feature to password protect your printer, you can still use third-party applications.


How do I disable network printing?

You can disable network printing by configuring your network setting to ensure that your printer only responds to commands through your network router.

How do I prevent printing access to clients and customers in my network?

If you offer access to clients and guests on your wireless network, you must create a guest network solely for this function. This means that your clients or guests will have access to the internet but not your primary network.



STAT: In 2021 the Printing Industry in the US was estimated at $75.3 billion. This is a -2% market size growth compared to the previous year. The industry has also experienced a -3.1% growth between 2016 and 2021 (source)

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