You’ve password-protected your computer, installed antivirus and maybe even checked your home network for intruders. You’re smart!
But there’s a good chance when you were going down the cybersecurity checklist, you didn’t think about your printer. That can really come back to bite you.
We have a few steps you should take, brought to you by our sponsor, Epson EcoTank. The EcoTank is Kim’s go-to printer. Add it to your online shopping list at Amazon, Dell, Micro Center and at Epson.com/EcoTankKim.
1. Update your firmware
This is a step we give for just about anything internet-connected. Firmware updates are vital for keeping your gadgets secure. These patches and updates ensure you’re running the latest software, protecting you from recently-discovered bugs and vulnerabilities.
To find steps on updating your printer’s firmware, check your user manual. In some cases, you can do this right on your printer’s display. Look for an option called Printer Update. Otherwise, open up your printer software to update.
2. Limit access to those you trust
Windows allows you to make printing access optional. That means you can set up a guest account, for example, without access to your printer. This step is especially helpful in a business setting, but you can do it at home, too.
To do this, open Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners. Choose your printer, then hit Manage. Choose Printer properties, then Security. From there, you can click each user to establish permissions. Click Deny to disallow access. You can also allow a user to print but not manage the printer.
3. Keep it off the network
Connecting your printer to your home network means easier printing from any device, but it could also impact your security. Any device connected to your network is a way in for enterprising cybercriminals.
Printers are often patched, updated and secured less than other devices. A 16-year-old flaw was just found in hundreds of HP printers. Think about that! For years and years, these printers contained a vulnerability that could allow anyone to worm their way into your home network.
The safest route is to connect your printer to one computer via a USB cord.
4. Set a password
Just like most other connected devices, your printer has at least one password. Maybe it’s for the control center, or it’s a password that enables Wi-Fi printing. Check your printer’s manual to find out any passwords you can set. Be sure none of these use the default.
If you own an Epson printer, follow this link for steps to change your Wi-Fi Direct Password.
5. Secure networked printers, too
If you do put your printer on your home or office network, you need to lock things down. Your password is, of course, a vital first step in keeping out snoops or hackers.
Shopping for a printer? Kim’s pick is the Epson EcoTank
With the Epson EcoTank, kiss expensive ink cartridges goodbye. This printer has super-sized, easy-to-fill ink tanks and comes with a ridiculous amount of ink — enough to print thousands of pages right out of the box. Replacement ink sets include enough ink to print up to 7,500 black and white pages or 6,000 color pages. For the average person, that’s two years of printing!
If you don’t print very often, you’ll have even more time between refills. Don’t worry, the ink won’t dry up.
If you have kids at home, a printer is a no-brainer. Go ahead and print all of your work reports, task lists and your kids’ homework assignments — in color, too! Printing quality is excellent, so you can even print photos to display around the house.
Add the EcoTank to your online shopping list at Amazon, Dell, Micro Center and at Epson.com/EcoTankKim.