WiFi printers create security concerns

WiFi enabled printers and scanners make it convenient to print from across the room, but it can leave your system open to snoops.
September 22, 2010 6:59:59 PM PDT
WiFi enabled printers and scanners make it convenient to print from across the room or across the country. But it can leave your system open to snoops.

In a Hewlett Packard WiFi enabled printer, you can click on on, get entry, then click again and if anything is on the scanner we get to see what it is.

Computer security firm Zscaler figured all this out.

"Any HP scanner, or any other brand, sitting out there connected in your home could be wide open and any document you are putting out there could be scanned by others," Zscaler CEO and president Jay Chaudhry.

Chaudhry says companies like HP ship their printers with a default setting that makes access easy.

We asked HP about that and were told: "On a secured network, the likelihood of webscan being a security issue is extremely unlikely...properly secured home or business networks will keep documents private."

That's true, but Chaudhry says not everyone has a secured network.

"It is hard to educate the masses. You can try and put the burden on the layman, but it doesn't work," he said.

"Just to imagine you can go on to the Internet and you can click on every printer on that list, it is kind of scary," Lorraine Picazo from Best Buy said.

Picazo's job is to inform consumers -- the masses and protect them, too.

"I will definitely warn people. That is a huge thing and after looking that that I will let all the consumers know and the rest of my team," she said.

Make sure your WiFi is security protected, read your scanner/printer's instructions and remove all items from the scanner once they have been printed.


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