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17 June 2009, 15:23

Samsung survey shows poor print security

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Samsung  CLX-8380ND Samsung Electronics has published the results of a Europe-wide survey that shows companies' attitudes to the security aspects of printed output are very poor. The survey included more than 4,500 workers in both the public and private sectors and shows that more than half the companies in Europe do not have appropriate measures or policies in place to protect confidential printed information. The survey reveals a generally low awareness of behavioural and IT security risks.

Apparently 56 per cent of those surveyed said they often saw confidential documents unattended on printer output trays and 51 per cent were not aware of any technologies in place to protect the printer network itself.

Even personal data for European workers is at risk, with almost half (48 per cent) of survey respondents reporting seeing private documents left on the print tray. Many workers said they had learned confidential details about their colleagues from the print tray, including salary details (19 per cent), performance appraisals (15 per cent) and CV information (30 per cent).

Graham Long, Vice President, European Printing Operation, Samsung Electronics explained that "The results of the research show that organisations across Europe need to take more precautions to guard against security threats associated with their printing network and document output. Simple measures such as PIN code released prints and educating employees about proper printing procedures could significantly reduce the number of abandoned documents on the output tray and protect businesses from serious security breaches."

Apart from the poor safeguards for printed documents themselves there is general ignorance about the security risks associated with printer hardware and software. Nearly 69 per cent of respondents did not realise that most work group printers buffer documents on an easily removed hard drive and 65 per cent did not know networked printers are vulnerable to network penetration attacks.

Amazingly the survey found that even 50 per cent of IT staff weren't aware how easily printer hard drives, possibly containing sensitive information, could be stolen and 39 per cent did not realise networked printers could be subverted. Over half of the respondents said they were not aware of any security processes protecting printer security at their workplace.

Countries polled included France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK, with roughly equal numbers of respondents in each country. Samsung sell a broad range of business colour and monochrome laser printers. Their message is that printed data is just as vulnerable as lost or stolen USB sticks, hard drives and laptops.


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