How to Improve Endpoint Security with Secure Managed Print Solutions

Every business has some level of exposure to ransomware. From small businesses to global enterprises and government agencies, all have fallen victim to the demands of cybercriminals that prey on unprotected or unsuspecting businesses. 

Even entire cities have been victims of these attacks, often suffering long-term damage through data loss, financial penalties from ransom paid, or fines that resulted from these intrusions.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of cybercrime where the bad actor sends a file to a company or individual who is tricked into opening the file, unleashing the software to the computer, and subsequently to corporate servers. Some versions of ransomware even penetrated multiple computers without any interaction by users.

Ransomware goes to work encrypting files or blocking access to files or databases, demanding a ransom before a key will be provided to decrypt the data. In some cases, technical teams can diagnose the problem and remove the ransomware. More typically, sophisticated attacks use cryptoviral extortion, encrypting files to render them inaccessible. Ransoms of varying amounts are demanded, usually using digital currency such as Bitcoin, which can be difficult to trace. Prosecution is, therefore, difficult and usually unsuccessful.

Studies estimate that cybercriminals execute a ransomware attack every 11 seconds, with damage expected to reach an astounding $20 billion by the year 2021. In the first six months of 2018 alone, there were more than 181 million ransomware attacks.

Potential Impact from Ransomware Attacks

Recovery from ransomware attacks can result in loss of data files, significant payments to the perpetrator to restore access, and loss of confidence by clients or consumers. 

Many companies victimized by cybercriminals through such attacks have made payments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, often with mixed results. Even when the attacker does provide credentials to unlock critical systems, the account may – or may not – release the lockout conditions. 

When the files do become available again, it is not unusual to find some files missing or corrupted. You can never assume that such perpetrators will be honorable with their promises to restore access without leaving traces of their visit behind.

Other forms of ransomware exist, such as a type often referred to as “leakware.” In this attack, data is compromised, but not encrypted or locked. The cyberthief simply threatens to publicize data that has been captured unless the ransom is paid. 

Customers – and stockholders – also raise concerns when a business’s IT environment has been compromised. Cybercriminals that have absconded with company trade secrets, privileged communications, or customer credit card data have severely damaged company reputations and even impacted company stock prices.

In addition to the financial loss in the form of ransom paid and potential fines that may result from loss of consumer information, there are costs from technical labor for restoring service and lost productivity while applications are unavailable.

Defending Against Ransomware with Secure Managed Printing

Today’s modern printers are computers too, and just as with any computer on a business network, cybercriminals can hack them.

Printers retain data sent to them, making hacking these devices a treasure trove of potentially confidential information for ransomware attacks. Printers may contain employee data, financial reporting, contracts, and executive memos.

Many printers contain hard drives or solid-state disks (SSDs) that retain information that is sent through the printer. This may be resident for a varying period – possibly long enough for the thief to abscond with usable data for ransom demands.

Printers that may be particularly targeted are those that:

  • Connect to the network
  • Contain drives that retain information
  • Possess scanning and emailing capabilities

Endpoint security secures all access into a network to protect from all types of malware and cybercrime. Many companies take great effort in securing computers, wireless laptops and tablets, and mobile devices to prevent unauthorized access to networks and servers.

Hackers look for easy access to a business network. While desktop computers and laptops are often equipped with reliable malware protection, printers may be overlooked as a security risk, making them attractive targets for penetrating network defenses.

Securing Printers with Managed Print Solutions

Managed print services (MPS) ensure security at your printers, making documents safe even before they’re printed. With multifactor authentication, documents must be authorized when they’re sent to the printer, then again at the printer via the use of a PIN or access card that verifies the user has the proper authority to print them. This avoids the potential for confidential reports to be printed unattended and possibly viewed, picked up, or copied by unauthorized parties.

Securing printers with MPS ensures that appropriate configuration and settings are implemented to prevent printer tampering, unauthorized emailing, and hacking at printer devices.

Secure Managed Print Services from James Imaging

James Imaging Systems will conduct a comprehensive audit of your printing infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities and offer effective security solutions through professional managed print services.

Contact us today to protect your business from ransomware and other potential cybercrime attacks with effective endpoint security for your printing environment.