Secure Printers and Scanners

Printers, scanners (e.g., copiers, fax machines), and multi-function devices (incorporate print, copy, scan, fax features) are similar to computers.  These devices can connect to the network and store data on a hard drive for your print/copy/scan/fax request. When connected to the network, they can be used to launch attacks, store unauthorized data, retrieve scanned and printed documents, or print objectionable or unauthorized material.

Securing these devices is an important step in protecting University data and resources.

Coordinate Changes for University Compliance

Coordinate additions and changes to maintain University compliance.

  • For use with payment card information (e.g., credit cards), contact University Accounts Receivable Service ([email protected]).
  • For use in a Health Care Component or with health information, contact HST ([email protected]).

Configure and Verify Security Settings

Vendors may not enable the security settings by default, or they may reset to default insecure settings during a vendor service call.

To protect the data and the availability of the device, configure the security settings. Check with the vendor for instructions on how to enable security settings on the device. Many devices require a restart for the settings to take affect.

Periodically check the security settings, especially after a vendor service call.

Restrict Access to the Device

By IP Address(es)

Options starting with the most preferred include:

  • Assign the device a campus-routed IP address (i.e., RFC-1918) to only allow access from within the University network. To request a campus-routed IP address, see KB9915947 article.  Changing the IP of the device may also require re-configuring every client that uses or manages the device.
  • Use a Network Firewall. Write firewall rules to limit access to only the University subnet(s) and network and service protocols that are need to use/manage the device.
  • Use Built-in Access Control Lists (ACLs) on the device. List the IP addresses that can log into the management interface on the device. Consult the vendor's documentation for details on how to deny access by default and enumerate allowed access.
  • Set the default gateway configuration on the device to an invalid value (, empty, or some addresses on the network).  This will limit access to only devices on the same subnet.  Use this option only if the device does not support ACLs or device can not use a campus-routed IP address.

By Network Protocols 

TCP/IP is generally the only network protocol needed.  Some of the following are used for compatibility with legacy systems. Restrict access to the IP addresses that use the particular network protocol, otherwise disable the network protocol.


  • AppleTalk
  • Bonjour
  • Wireless broadcast

By Service Protocols

Use https (or snmp v3) for remote management of the device. Use snmp v3 (prior versions do not support encryption). Restrict access to the IP addresses that use the particular service protocol and set a strong password, otherwise disable the service protocol.


Maintain Unique and Strong Passwords on Accounts and Service Protocols

  • Default passwords or well-known credentials for the device (e.g., vendor service account), change to a unique strong password.
  • snmp community string (e.g., private, public), change to non-default settings and set a strong password. Disable public community string, if not used.
  • Web interface, set a strong password.
  • ftp - if absolutely necessary, require a username and strong password. We recommend disabling and using a file transfer protocol that uses encryption such as SFTP (secure shell data stream) or FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS).

Check passwords after a vendor service call to ensure that the passwords are not reset to default passwords.

Protect the Data

Encrypt the Internal Hard Drive

Encryption is a feature available on newer devices. Enable secure overwrite feature.

The University has partnered with the State of Minnesota to contract with copier and multi-function device vendors who provide hard drive encryption and enable secure overwrite feature. See University Purchasing website.

Print Directly from Memory

Enable the print directly from memory feature on the device. The data is not written to the device's hard drive.

Enable Logging and Review Logs

  • Enable detail logging for auditing and security purposes.
  • Review logs for unauthorized access. This is required on devices with HIPAA, FERPA, or payment card (credit card) data.

Monitor the Device

Check for and Install Firmware Updates

  • Check the vendor's support site and/or subscribe to the vendor's announcement mailings.
  • Verify that the device is running the current firmware version.
  • Install firmware updates.

Manage Vendor Service Calls

  • Keep a copy of the configuration report that the vendor needs to provide after each service call. If not provided, verify and document that the security settings did not change.
  • Complete a Copier/Multifunction Device Hard Drive Destruction/Sanitization Certificateprior to the hard drive leaving the premises for off-site repairs or swapping out of equipment/hard drive. OR the vendor must remove the hard drive on site and leave it with the unit for proper disposal.
  • Check passwords after a vendor service call to ensure that the passwords are not reset to default passwords
  • Verify security settings after a vendor service call to ensure that they are properly set,

Properly Dispose of the Hard Drive

 See the University Information Security policy for additional steps to secure the device to meet the data security classification and security level for the device.

Contact Technology Help for assistance.