HP has announced several security improvements in its line of network printers that will strengthen the device defenses against criminal attacks.
HP Deals Takes Printer Security More Seriously
HP announced several security measures that will strengthen the devices by implementing new Secure Managed Print Services (MPS) capabilities. They include a new default configuration set, software additions and improved security services.
These new assets are available to the enterprise line of network printers which are used in financial services, healthcare, public sector, manufacturing and education. The organization hopes that these measures will severely limit the number of intrusions carried out by hackers against their products.
Some of the vulnerabilities that are mitigated are the security weaknesses that are attributed when using remote administration services via the FTP and Telnet protocols. The company is disabling these services as well as other insecure protocols and services which are often targeted by exploit kits by hackers.
In November the company also announced that their FutureSmart firmware update has added improved administration passwords and encryption settings. Other security enhancements include Access Control and Capture and Route content tracking. They allow the creation and management of authorization and authentication procedures.
What Do The HP Printers Fear
One of the primary threats that network printers face is botnet recruitment. All contemporary devices are in-fact capable of running a sophisticated set of commands that can be used in large-scale botnet attacks. We have seen that thousands of different types of devices have been recruited into the Mirai botnet and used in various campaigns operated by the hackers.
This has prompted HP and other companies to consider changing the way their devices work. Many of the network-aware devices sold today feature severe security weaknesses which allow criminals to sabotage them. Such possibilities include logging to the devices via secure methods using weak default hardcoded passwords (used for diagnosis purposes or debugging) or by sniffing the network traffic when the hackers have access to the internal network. The other major type of damage that can be done against such devices is sabotage.
In the wake of the weak IoT security and the emerging threats made possible by the vicious botnet attacks it is a good thing to see a company which is designing a better framework for its devices. We expect to see such actions from other manufacturers as well. We would like to remind everyone that the above-mentioned measures are merely the minimum that is covered in a good contemporary security policy that should be followed by the enterprise users.