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Despite the critical roles networked imaging and printing resources play in the processes and workflows of large and small organizations alike, IT professionals frequently ignore security threats to the imaging and printing infrastructure and often leave it entirely unsecured. Imaging and printing environments aren’t currently a primary target for network attacks, but this will likely change as hackers find traditional servers more difficult to exploit and look for other targets.
If IT fails to safeguard these valuable resources beforehand, attacks against unsecured network communications can endanger data confidentiality, which can increase litigation exposure and compromise compliance with government and industry regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Patriot Act, the California Database Protection Act of 2001, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB), the Basel II Accord, the IPv6 Mandate, and SEC rules.1 For example, print and digital-send jobs sent via traditional 802.11x networking can be intercepted, compromising the confidentiality and integrity of the information.
Imaging and printing security threats will undoubtedly increase. For instance, the Computer Security Institute reported in its 2005 CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey that unauthorized access rose dramatically in the last year and replaced denial of service as the second most significant contributor to computer crime losses. And recent publications by hacker groups have raised the awareness that imaging and printing devices are more than simple appliances and that these devices have capabilities beyond printing and scanning. Unauthorized data access isn’t the only problem, either — denial-of-service strikes against networked MFPs and printers can diminish productivity, and unauthorized device usage can deplete consumables stocks and increase supplies costs.