Security Experts:

HP Enhances Network Printer Security

HP announced this week several improvements to its Managed Print Services (MPS) in an effort to help organizations defend against attacks leveraging network printers.

Network printers can introduce a serious security risk if not managed properly. For instance, a researcher warned in January that hackers could abuse misconfigured HP enterprise printers to host malicious code and evade detection by security products.

HP wants to protect its customers against such attacks through new Secure MPS capabilities, including software, advanced security services, and new default configurations.

Organizations can contract HP’s professional security services for several tasks, including the implementation and ongoing evaluation of corporate printing security plans, remote management of printer fleets for compliance purposes, reporting fleet statuses and reviewing best practices, and automating security-related actions, such as password management and firmware updates.

Improper configurations can introduce security holes, which HP wants to plug by closing less-secure interfaces, such as ports, cipher suites and protocols. This includes FTP and Telnet, which are often abused by malicious hackers.

HP also pointed out that the FutureSmart firmware update released in November brings improved admin passwords and encryption settings for enterprise and multifunction printers. The vendor says it has also been working with software developers to ensure that applications start using newer and more secure interfaces so that other problematic interfaces can be closed in the near future.

The company has also announced some new security enhancements to its HP JetAdvantage solutions, including Access Control, and Capture and Route. Access Control provides authorization, authentication and secure pull printing capabilities, while Capture and Route allows users to easily control and track scanned content and distribute documents.

“Networked printers can no longer be overlooked in the wake of weakening firewalls to the growing sophistication and volume of cyberattacks,” said Ed Wingate, VP and GM of JetAdvantage Solutions at HP. “That’s why HP has established a new benchmark in managed print services, infusing security best practices into everything that we do to enable our customers to stay on top of growing endpoint security challenges.”

Related: HP Launches Secure Enterprise Printers

Related: Thousands of Printers "Hacked" to Spew Anti-Semitic Flyers

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.