Since the early days of computers, c has been a concern for anyone wanting to keep their data safe. The proliferation of the internet introduced more concerns about how viruses could be transmitted across the networks and infect hundreds of machines in seconds.

Some of the best-known businesses have experienced high-profile security breaches that have made headlines when discovering that customer databases containing sensitive data have been hacked or released into the public domain. Anyone who uses a computer needs to take responsibility for keeping their information safe, but there are some aspects of keeping your data safe that are routinely overlooked and printer safety is one of them.

When considering which printer to get, most people think about the quality of the prints, the speed of the output, and the range of additional features available, such as scanning and copying. Many people consider the cost and availability of ink as well, particularly if they are considering a printer from a manufacturer that has a range of compatible options such as HP cartridges which are recommended for Hewlett Packard’s entire range of printers.

How can a printer compromise security?

While printers are designed to process data rather than storing it, your printer could still be the source of a data breach if you don’t follow a few simple steps to keeping your home computer set-up safe. The main source of concern comes when a printer is attached to a home network that might not be secure and posing a threat to all the data transmitted on that network.

Many people are so concerned with getting their internet network set up that they overlook some of the most basic security measures when setting their systems up. Simple things like changing the default username and password on your router can really help, so it’s worth checking your administrator settings to make sure they aren’t easy to bypass by others trying to access your network.

Wireless encryption is a simple way to protect your home network as it makes it hard for anyone to access your network by asking for their username and password. So long as you have set up your routers with strong passwords, this can prevent anyone unauthorized from accessing your network.

How to stay safe when printing

Encryption is the key to keeping yourself safe online and this is also true of printers and their connections to your network. Most printers have a portal that can be accessed via the internet by typing in the printer’s IP address. 

Usually, you would use this to assess toner levels, view the activity logs, and use the printer to scan documents. This portal can allow others to access your network if it isn’t secured effectively, so it is important to encrypt this portal to protect your network and ensure that hackers cannot log in to it and access your data.

Most printers also have a hard drive that can be used to store information about the print jobs that are sent to them. Depending on what you print, these could include personal information or commercially sensitive data that you want to protect from hackers. 

Removing the hard drive from your printer will allow you to access the data stored on it and remove anything that you want to keep private. If you are considering selling or donating a printer, it is worth checking its hard drive to ensure that nothing stored on it could compromise your security.

There are other routine tasks that contribute to your printer’s security, such as keeping the firmware and drivers up to date as these often include fixes for any bugs or security concerns that the manufacturer is aware of. It is also a good idea to turn your printer off when you aren’t using it so that it cannot be used as an access point for your network.

If you are unable to secure your network or need to print from a network that you are unsure of, plugging directly into the printer rather than sending data across the network can reduce the chances of your documents being intercepted or stored without your knowledge.

Other reasons to implement security measures

Although it is important to protect your data, it is not the only reason for preventing unauthorized users from accessing your network. Securing your home system also stops anyone else from using your internet connection to commit crimes or engage in other malicious activity.

Even users engaging in relatively harmless activity could compromise your network and anyone using your network without your knowledge could slow it down considerably and have a detrimental effect on performance. 

Many users completely overlook their printers when considering their home computer security, but it is easy to make your system secure once your know-how.