Canon Warns of Wi-Fi Security Risks When Discarding Inkjet Printers

“Canon is warning users of home, office, and large format inkjet printers that their Wi-Fi connection settings stored in the devices' memories are not wiped, as they should, during initialization, allowing others to gain access to the data. This flaw could introduce a security and privacy risk for impacted users if the printer memory is extracted by repair technicians, temporary users, or future buyers of the devices, allowing them to get the connection details for your Wi-FI network” (Bleeping Computer, 2023).

Different Canon printers may carry different kinds of information, but the data generally includes network SSID, password, network type, IP and MAC addresses, and network profiles. A third-party could use these details to gain unauthorized access to the network. Using details from the device, it’s possible a threat actor could locate a specific targets WiFi locations, or depending on how it was discarded, the device could be in a dumpster outside the office making this task trivial. From there, the attacker can access shared resources, steal data, or launch other privacy-invading attacks leveraging additional vulnerabilities.

Security Officer Comments:
The list of Canon printers impacted by this issue is too extensive to include, comprising 196 inkjet, business inkjet, and large-format inject printer models from the E, G, GX, iB, iP, MB, MG, MX, PRO, TR, TS, and XK series. Users can check the official document provided by Canon to check if their printer model is impacted.

Canon suggests owners of impacted printers should wipe their Wi-Fi settings before disposing of the printer or selling to a third-party.

The security advisory provides the following instructions on wiping Wi-FI settings:

  • Reset all settings (Reset settings ‐> Reset all)
  • Enable the wireless LAN
  • Reset all settings one more time
For models that do not have the 'Reset all' function in the settings menu, users are advised to follow these steps instead:
  • Reset LAN settings
  • Enable the wireless LAN
  • Reset LAN settings one more time
If these instructions are not applicable to your printer model, Canon recommends referring to the operation manual that came with your device.

Another good security precaution would be to keep printers on networks isolated from valuable assets so that attackers won't be able to access important devices even if that network is compromised. Finally, apply the available firmware updates for your printer model, and turn off services such as cloud printing or remote management interfaces if they're not needed.

Suggested Correction(s):

General Best Practices for Decommissioning IT Products:

Have a Plan

Similar to a disaster recovery plan, organizations should invest resources into creating a detailed plan for removing, wiping, and recycling decommissioned IT products. The plan should include, backing up mission critical business information, identifying and logging hardware assets, disabling user access, securely wiping hardware, and destroying or recycling hardware products. Having poor decommissioning policies can lead to data leakage and increase overall cybersecurity risks.

Create and Maintain a Detailed Log to Track Decommissioning Process

Create a digital logbook to manage data related to retired IT equipment. This logbook should contain detailed information about each decommissioned asset, including its disposal date, equipment type, hardware serial number, and asset destruction location. It should also have a checklist that staff can follow to ensure the secure disposal of each asset, in line with company policies. If using an external IT asset disposition partner, it is recommended to ensure they are fully accountable and transparent and use advanced information systems for auditing and reporting purposes.

Backup Mission-Critical Business Information

Incorrectly backing up data during asset disposal can result in the deletion of sensitive business information. To avoid data loss incidents, it is recommended to take a cloud backup of the information stored on old hardware. This backup can also serve as proof of the type of data that has been deleted during decommissioning.

Verify Asset Identity Before Disposal

Before sending any IT asset for on-site or off-site destruction, it is crucial to confirm its identity. This can be accomplished by cross-validating the asset's serial number with the logbook of decommissioned IT assets to ensure that the correct equipment is being handled. Additionally, examining the logbook can provide insight into the employees who previously used the equipment, shedding light on the type and criticality of data stored on the hardware. Employing IT asset management software can expedite the identity verification process and streamline the overall decommissioning process.

Disable User Access to Obsolete IT Assets

Effective management of user permissions and robust controls to prevent unauthorized network access are paramount to bolstering your organization's security posture. When decommissioning technology hardware, scrutinize the user access privileges granted to retired IT assets. Outdated user IDs or accounts with elevated access can serve as a backdoor for ex-employees and cybercriminals to infiltrate your network and pilfer sensitive information. To fortify your network security, ensure that all obsolete user IDs are deleted during the asset decommissioning process.

Securely Wipe Data From Your IT Hardware

Neglecting to track down and wipe confidential information stored on decommissioned IT assets can exponentially elevate the likelihood of data exposure. Thus, it is advisable to partner with an expert who offers top-notch data sanitization services. A certified vendor can help you securely erase data from your outdated hardware while maintaining compliance with the data privacy laws governing your industry. Moreover, it is crucial to ensure that your data security partner conforms to the rigorous NIST and DoD standards and furnishes certificates of data destruction to validate the effectiveness of their services.

Destroy Obsolete IT Assets in An Eco-Friendly Manner

To prevent unauthorized data access, the physical destruction of damaged IT assets is generally the optimal solution for companies. However, it is crucial to ascertain that the assets being destroyed have no potential for reuse. Partnering with a certified IT asset disposition company is recommended for shredding or disposing of unwanted equipment. These experts can provide valuable guidance on whether to refurbish or recycle old assets by analyzing various factors, such as equipment age, functionality, and overall condition. Moreover, an R2-certified ITAD expert can help recycle damaged equipment in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner, ensuring that it doesn't end up in a landfill.