April 16, 2016 –
Most of us don’t give a second thought to what’s in our printers. We should think again.
Racist, anti-Semitic rants recently spewed out of printers at more than a dozen colleges across the country, from Princeton to the University of California, Berkeley.
As a New York Times article pointed out, the hater hacker didn’t mean to print his manifesto on every campus. He intended to print it from every single publicly accessible printer in the US.
An April article in Slate Magazine also discussed the dangers of using sophisticated, often shared printers and other devices over wireless networks.
Fret about the real threat
The flier frenzy, launched by an American neo-Nazi in Abkhazia near Russia, was a disturbing reminder of how vulnerable our interconnected devices are.
The Swiftsure Group recently shared some insight about the role of total asset lifecycle management in mitigating risks of the IoT. The focus was on data centers, where zombie servers devour resources, and healthcare facilities, home to the undud – fully functional but unaccounted-for equipment.
Printers, servers, monitors, scanners and copiers all transmit, and store, data. Organizations often overlook them, and the information they contain, exposing themselves to data loss, heavy financial penalties and costly regulatory noncompliance. (HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley come to mind.)
Most trolls and hackers aren’t looking to hijack equipment to broadcast radical views. They want to steal data.
While encryption, firewalls and remote access safeguards are crucial to security, data-containing devices can’t be protected if they can’t be located. That’s why a sound asset management system must track assets from acquisition through end of life and equipment destruction. An accurate, reliable, affordable solution uses sensor technology such as RFID to automatically identify and locate at-risk assets.