Overlooked Endpoints: Why Multifunction Printer (MFP) Security is Essential

Bitdefender Enterprise
Overlooked Endpoints: Why Multifunction Printer (MFP) Security is Essential

With cybersecurity threats increasing, hackers are always searching for weak links and vulnerabilities that can serve as their entry point into an organization’s network. As a result, businesses of all sizes need layers of security to defend against cyberattacks and help them become more cyber resilient. However, as businesses focus on securing endpoints such as employee laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, one area they may overlook are their multifunction printers (MFPs).  

Today’s MFPs are much more than simple copiers or printers. They are internet-connected devices with the ability to receive, store and share files, including via email. Many connect wirelessly to cloud services, and much like a computer, MFPs have operating systems and internal hard drives that may contain sensitive data. Because MFPs are connected to an organization’s corporate network, they can be a high-value target for hackers looking for a way to breach an organization.  

Threats to MFP security 

Any device with an IP address connected to a company network represents a potential access point for cybercriminals to exploit. Attackers know that many organizations never change the default password set on their MFP’s by the manufacturer or install firewalls to help protect their MFPs from outside threats. If an attacker is able to exploit a vulnerability in an MFP, they can potentially plant malware, steal intellectual property, or access network document storage. If they gain control over the device itself, they can upload or send electronic documents containing viruses, which may then be opened by other users on the network, allowing the threat to spread laterally and infect more machines. Attackers can even potentially modify the information processed by the MFP, such as changing bank account requisites in scanned or printed documents.  

When one considers the many types of documents containing sensitive information that pass through a typical organization’s MFPs – employee records, financial records, tax documents, and more – it’s easy to see how the devices can pose a serious risk if not properly secured.  

Bitdefender partners with Sharp to provide strong MFP security  

Traditional antivirus solutions that organizations deploy on their employees’ computers and mobile devices cannot be installed on MFPs. That is why Bitdefender announced a new partnership with Sharp Electronics, one of the world’s leading technology manufacturers, to further strengthen the security and threat prevention of Sharp’s popular MFPs. The new partnership enables the integration of Bitdefender antimalware technology into Sharp’s new range of Future Workplace A3 MFPs. 

Through the integration, the Bitdefender antimalware engine scans all input and output data from the Sharp MFPs in real time, alerting users, IT or security teams when a threat is detected. Bitdefender’s antimalware technology provides protection against known and unknown malware, including viruses, trojans, worms, ransomware, advanced persistent threats (APTs), spyware and more – enabling organizations to detect malicious activity and threats before they do damage.  

Best practices for MFP security 

Sharp MFPs and printers are built with multi-layered security in mind, and the partnership between Sharp and Bitdefender is another example of how additional layers of security can protect MFP users and provide added peace of mind. At the same time, organizations cannot rely on antivirus alone. There are additional best practices businesses should follow to ensure their MFP endpoints are secure. Change the default password, implement secure user access control practices, close unused ports and disable unneeded network services and protocols, ensure wifi and mobile security are properly configured, and don’t publish your MFP’s IP address outside the organization’s firewall. 

As businesses of all sizes and across all industries face increased cybersecurity threats, they must recognize that their multifunctional printers are internet of things (IoT) devices and endpoints that can serve as an attack vector if not properly secured. Fortunately, with the Bitdefender antimalware technology layered into their MFPs, and by following other security best practices, businesses can ensure that they are strongly protected and resilient against threats. 

Bitdefender will be participating in the Sharp National Dealer Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 18, through April 20, 2023.  If you would like to learn more about the importance of protecting multi-functional printing equipment, and why Sharp chose to partner with Bitdefender, please join us at the breakout session on April 18th, or visit us on the show floor. 

Learn more about comprehensive endpoint security from Bitdefender.


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Bitdefender Enterprise

Bitdefender is a cybersecurity leader delivering best-in-class threat prevention, detection, and response solutions worldwide. Guardian over millions of consumer, enterprise, and government environments, Bitdefender is one of the industry’s most trusted experts for eliminating threats, protecting privacy, digital identity and data, and enabling cyber resilience. With deep investments in research and development, Bitdefender Labs discovers hundreds of new threats each minute and validates billions of threat queries daily. The company has pioneered breakthrough innovations in antimalware, IoT security, behavioral analytics, and artificial intelligence and its technology is licensed by more than 180 of the world’s most recognized technology brands. Founded in 2001, Bitdefender has customers in 170+ countries with offices around the world.

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