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Office Devices that are Vulnerable to Cyberattacks and How to Protect Them

When addressing cybersecurity, be sure to do so from all angles.

May 4, 2021

Cybersecurity is imperative for all organizations. Cyberattackers use highly sophisticated methods to steal sensitive information, but they also exploit simple vulnerabilities. When addressing cybersecurity, you must do so from all angles. 

When people think about the cybersecurity of office devices, they commonly think of computers. While it’s true that computers generally hold a lot of sensitive information and must be protected, they aren’t the only devices that matter. 

Far too often, printers, fax machines, and IoT devices are left out of the question for office security, but they shouldn’t be. 

Today, we’ll share an essential guide on how to secure your office devices. 

Computers

Antivirus software is a necessity for computer cybersecurity, but it’s not the only one. 

Start with your employees. Carefully restrict access levels, only granting access to necessary applications and software. Focus on educating employees about the best cybersecurity practices and their responsibilities. 

Restrict the use of personal applications on work devices. Implement a cybersecurity policy to which each employee must adhere. Ultimately, you should also include a plan for recovery in the event of an attack. Some key topics to address in your cybersecurity policy include:

  • Responsibilities of each employee. 
  • A clear BYOD policy
  • Password requirements
  • Data encryption information. 
  • Different forms of cybersecurity. 

Point-of-Sale System

Point-of-Sale devices like card scanners require strong cybersecurity. These devices connect to the network and process payment information from customers. Hackers will target your POS system in hopes of gaining direct access to payment credentials. It’s imperative to be diligent about POS security. 

  • Always keep your POS system up to date with the newest software and operating system. 
  • Set a unique, strong password for your system, and change the password frequently. Set up two-factor authentication as well. 
  • Test your POS cybersecurity to identify and address vulnerabilities before attackers do so. 
  • Install antivirus software on the devices.
  • Keep devices physically locked up when not in use and at the end of each day. 
  • Monitor POS areas with video surveillance so you can catch anyone who may attempt to install a skimmer. 

Printers

Can you be hacked through your printer? Absolutely. 

Back in 2018, a hacker hijacked 50,000 printers to print documents in support of the YouTuber PewDiePie. According to the hacker, this hijack was all in good fun. It was entertainment for the hacker, but not all hackers are harmless. 

One group of researchers from CyberNews reminded us of this recently. The team searched for vulnerable printers and found over 800,000 with the search engine Shodan. As you may imagine, cybercriminals also use Shodan. 

From there, researchers chose 50,000 printers and created the “attack.” The attack was a script only to make the printer print; it did not hijack any other features or data on the printer. Ironically, the script was a guide to printer security. The lesson overall was one in printer cybersecurity. The experiment sheds light on the number of at-risk printers and how easy they are to hack. 

How to Know if Someone Hacked Your Printer

  • Printing unknown or unauthorized documents is one of the most common signs a printer has been hacked. 
  • Error messages on documents. If you spot unusual error messages, printer security may be compromised.

How to Prevent Printer Cyberattacks

  • Create unique login credentials different than the printer settings. Add a unique user name and password to prevent unauthorized remote access. 
  • Disable unnecessary printer router ports based on the information in your manual. 
  • Turn off the printer when inactive (ie. after office hours).
  • Disconnect the printer from the internet when not in use. 
  • Use up-to-date printer software. 
  • Use a VPN to connect to the network. This is one of the best ways to protect your devices, including printers. 

Fax Machines

Fax machines are often overlooked during the cybersecurity conversation, but how secure are fax machines?

Remote hackers can use fax machines to compromise your network. By simply using your fax number, a cyberattacker can gain total control over your printer and even network. Most modern fax machines are part of all-in-one-one-printers connected to a WiFi network. By sending a malware file through the fax machine, the attacker can take control of your network. 

To prevent this issue, organizations must “patch the flaw on individual fax devices and all-in-one machines with embedded faxes to block unauthorized access.” The key is to segment the network, especially for fax machines. Organizations should carefully assess patch management policies to secure the vulnerabilities. When you segment the fax machine, you ensure that an attacker cannot infect the rest of your IT network via your fax. 

IoT Devices

Can IoT devices be hacked? Yep, Alexa, Google Home, and all IoT devices can be hacked. IoT devices are becoming increasingly common in the work environment, and they are prevalent for remote workers.

Hackers can use IoT devices to gain access to your network and sensitive data. Unfortunately, many people overlook the potential for IoT cyberattacks. Whether in the office or at home, your team must protect IoT devices from cybersecurity threats. 

IoT Vulnerabilities

  • Weak passwords that are easy to guess.  
  • Insecure network services. 
  • Outdated components.
  • Weak privacy protection.
  • Insecure data storage and transfer.
  • Lack of device management. 

One example of a terrible IoT hack is the baby monitor (or camera). Modern baby monitors are WiFi-enabled and include cameras. They can and have been hacked. One family from the U.S reported that a hacker broke into the wireless camera system to watch their child. The hacker threatened to kidnap him. Many other people have also reported hearing strangers to talk over baby monitors or cameras. 

Tips for Securing IoT Devices

  • Use multi-factor authentication. Configure individual IoT devices on the network with multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security. This security involves the combination of codes, passwords, and biometrics and will create a more robust login process. 
  • Follow instructions. Each device is unique and often includes essential instructions for configuration. The instructions will you learn how to optimize device security best. 
  • Create IoT device security policies for employees that work from home. Help your employees practice the best IoT security to help secure your company data and devices when on their home network. 
  • Turn off devices when not in use. Some devices may need to stay on to monitor your office, but others can be switched off when not in use. To reduce the risk of hacking, make sure to shut down the device, not just place it on standby. This process is beneficial for remote healthcare workers who have access to electronic patient records. 

Work with a Cybersecurity Expert

Addressing all of the potential cybersecurity risks in an office can be overwhelming. Working with a technology expert is one of the best ways to ensure you implement critical cybersecurity practices for all office devices. 

That’s why BLM Technologies is here to help. We are happy to help you address all cybersecurity challenges and create your cybersecurity policies. Our team provides support for IT security and more. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us today!

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