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5 Ways to secure your wireless printer

Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, it’s likely your working week consists of time in the office and time spent at home. But for hybrid working to be successful, the right technology needs to be in place.

Take wireless printers for example. They of course have a host of advantages – specifically they can be managed, updated and troubleshooted remotely.

But your wireless printer can be a potential point of vulnerability in your home network if you don’t secure it properly. Here we run through how to secure a wireless printer with five simple steps.

1. Secure your printer ports

These are the software access points used to connect external devices to your printer. Your wireless printer will have a selection of ports that are designed for a range of devices, but many of which you won’t use.

Each of these unsecured ports is a potential vulnerability that can be hacked. You need to plug these gaps in your home working security defences. And you can do so simply by disabling all the ports you don’t use via your printer’s settings, keeping only the one port you use open. Simply check your device’s user manual to find out how to do so.

2. Update your printer’s firmware

Firmware is the software that runs your printer. It can have unforeseen vulnerabilities that can allow people to gain access to your printer and your network.

Your printer manufacturer will likely update printer firmware regularly to remove any of these points of weaknesses – but you need to follow suit. Make sure you regularly update your printer’s firmware to take advantage of any new protections from the manufacturer. You can usually update firmware manually via your printer’s control panel, but it keeps things simple if you enable automatic updates.

3. Use a firewall

As network security software, firewalls are an effective security step that can protect your computer and other networked devices you use. A firewall will monitor ingoing and outgoing data and blocks forms of access that don’t meet specific security protocols.

Before you use a wireless printer, make sure it has a firewall. The printer – or your computer – may have a pre-installed firewall available. If not, you’ll have to install a third-party firewall. If you’re unsure about any of this, check with the department in your company responsible for your wireless printer.

4. Change your printer’s default password

Your printer may require a username and password for wireless access. You’ll find that a default username and password will likely be in place as standard. Remember these can be known to external parties. That means that when you first set up and install your wireless printer, you should make sure you set a new username and password in the settings.

Rather than using an existing word or phrase for your password, create a long and strong password that contains at least 12 characters and a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and special characters.

5. Disable network printing

While your printer is online, it can be vulnerable to attack. One of the best ways to secure your wireless printer is to disable network printing by taking the printer offline so it can’t be accessed by any other devices.

One option is to limit the times your printer is vulnerable by only enabling network printing when you need to use it. If you’re particularly concerned with safety, you can permanently disable network printing and connect your computer and printer via a cable instead. There will usually be the option to disable network printing in your printer’s control panel. But this shouldn’t be necessary provided you’ve taken all the other steps.

Making sure your entire home working network is secure

Remember that even after a home computer and network have been made secure, it’s easy to overlook other networked devices, like wireless printers. For effective and secure hybrid working, every online device must be secure.

Discover more about our hybrid working technology solutions to make the transition to hybrid working smooth, safe and secure.


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