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The Hunt Is On, Is Your Print Network at Risk?

What IT managers look out for when selecting a hardware provider to ensure their printers are secured

IT managers should be very concerned about their printer’s security. Earlier this year a “friendly” hacker caused 150,000 printers worldwide to start spitting out pages telling the organisation that their printer was compromised and needed to be secured. This was, supposedly, done as a gesture of goodwill by the hacker in raising awareness that the printers were not secure, but with awareness within the hacker community that printers are often unsecure now running high, it’s increasingly likely that an organisation’s printer will be the first targeted by a hacker looking for an “in” into the organisation.

“Agencies must develop, implement and maintain tools and procedures covering the detection of potential cyber security incidents,” Ed Wingate, VP & GM, JetAdvantage Solutions, HP Inc. said at the recent Secure the Workspace event. “Strategies should incorporate counter-measures against malicious code, intrusion detection strategies, audit analysis, system integrity checking and vulnerability assessments.”

There are a few critical features that IT managers should look out for when selecting a hardware provider to ensure their printers are secured. For instance, BIOS protection is critically important. If the BIOS in a piece of hardware is corrupted, then any other layers of security are rendered pointless. Anti-malware has no opportunity to scan the BIOS prior to the operating system loading, for example, meaning that the threat can’t be caught until it’s too late. If the BIOS is infected, malware can be loaded into the OS during boot, and Infected BIOS instructions in the SMM are almost impossible to detect. In short; once the BIOS is infected, the best security solutions that sit on the operating system itself can be easily bypassed.

Modern printer technology should feature BIOS with run-time intrusion detection as standard best practice. A dynamic security solution that can detect BIOS attacks in real time and instantly restore the BIOS to a custom state, protecting and restoring BIOS setup variables, policies, and data, is one that will be able to cope with the increasing number of threats that are targeting the printer.

Organisations need a dynamic security solution that can detect BIOS attacks in real time and instantly restore the BIOS to a custom state, protecting and restoring BIOS setup variables, policies, and data.

HP’s active attempts to address security challenges at the source has led it to develop the HP Manageability Integration Kit (MIK) which has been designed to make the management of embedded security solutions, BIOS, and image creation easy. This toolset allows security managers to remotely set BIO and TPM configuration settings, manage authentication and port access settings, and remotely manage preinstalled HP Client Security.

The purpose of the MIK solution is to make the security of key endpoints easier. IT managers can operate it in tandem with most third-party client management solutions, and it’s the first and only management toolkit that has been certified for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

It is now more than ever important for ITDMs to become a security advocate within their organisation and champion end point security conversations. Companies need to take this threat challenge seriously, by developing, and then using, advanced security solutions that address the areas in which endpoint devices are most vulnerable. For more information on this approach to security, please visit http://www8.hp.com/us/en/solutions/security/thewolf.html


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