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Majority of UK SMBs at serious risk through printer hacks

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/jijomathaidesigners)

Small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are “oblivious” to potential risks posed by printers and multifunctional printers (opens in new tab), suggests a new report from Sharp.

Polling 1,000 office workers at UK SMBs, Sharp found 95 percent don’t see printers as an IT security risk at all, while only a third said leaving printed information in the tray could result in a data breach.

But forgotten or discarded paper is not the biggest threat – it’s the fact that these devices can be hacked. Just 18 percent of workers are aware printers can suffer a cyberattack and more than half (54 percent) said their printers were not password protected.

Commenting on the findings, ethical hacker Jens Müller said printers are usually connected to the company network and, if not secured, could become a target for hackers.

“Not only can printers and MFPs provide access to sensitive printed, scanned and faxed documents, there is also the risk of more sophisticated attacks which can escalate into the company-wide network," he said.

"Hackers only need to find one way in and they will look for the weakest link. Make sure it’s not your printer."

According to the latest analyst reports, print-related data loss (opens in new tab) costs larger businesses an average of $360,000 a year.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.