On Tuesday during the McAfee FOCUS12 security conference, Xerox and security firm McAfee showcased the very first networked multifunction printer to use McAfee Embedded Control software. This embedded software consists of a sophisticated filtering method that only allows approved programs to get through.
So why does a printer need malware protection? According to Tom Moore, vice president of embedded security at McAfee, a multifunction device becomes susceptible to malware attacks when it receives data and processes it for printing, copying, scanning of faxing.
A good example is the firmware issue HP faced with a large number of its LaserJet printers last year. Researchers at Columbia University discovered that hackers could remotely control the devices over the internet. HP quickly issued new firmware to address the vulnerability, but the issue opened the door to a whole new set of security concerns.
According to McAfee, the new security solution is embedded in the machine’s main onboard computer, making it easy on IT administrators by providing an immediate alert and audit trail so that the time and origin of security threats can be obtained. Thanks to this process, administrators don't need to stay on top of malware threats and proactively block them.
Companies are currently testing the new Xerox/McAfee duo, including Climax Portable Machining and Welding Systems, a company looking to expand into global markets. David Richardson, the company’s network administrator, said that adding McAfee's technology to existing Xerox equipment will help protect its intellectual property as the company integrates multiple sites and systems spread out across the globe.
"IT administrators don’t always consider printers as a threat – and with the Embedded Control software from McAfee, Xerox has put defenses in its products so they don’t have to," said Rick Dastin, president, Xerox Office and Solutions Business Group.
Xerox devices protected and managed by McAfee Embedded Control and McAfee Embedded Management software will become available beginning in Q1 2013, with products in the Xerox WorkCentre and ColorQube product lines.