Topic: Blog

Can Printers Get Hacked

Can Printers get hacked

Can Printers Get Hacked? Or use a hijacked printer as a copy machine for criminals, making it easy to commit identity theft or even take control of entire networks that would otherwise be secure?

It’s not only possible, but likely, say researchers at Columbia University, who claim they’ve discovered a new class of computer security flaws that could impact millions of businesses, consumers, and even government agencies.

Printers can be remotely controlled by computer criminals over the Internet, with the potential to steal personal information, attack otherwise secure networks and even cause physical damage, the researchers argue in a vulnerability warning first reported by msnbc.com. They say there’s no easy fix for the flaw they’ve identified in some Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printer lines – and perhaps on other firms’ printers, too – and there’s no way to tell if hackers have already exploited it.

The researchers, who have working quietly for months in an electronics lab under a series of government and industry grants, described the flaw in a private briefing for federal agencies two weeks ago.

 

The flaw involves firmware that runs so-called “embedded systems” such as computer printers, which increasingly are packed with functions that make them operate more like full-fledged computers. They also are commonly connected to the Internet.

“The problem is, technology companies aren’t really looking into this corner of the Internet. But we are,” said Columbia professor Salvatore Stolfo, who directed the research in the Computer Science Department of Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. “The research on this is crystal clear. The impact of this is very large. These devices are completely open and available to be exploited.”

Printer security flaws have long been theorized, but the Columbia researchers say they’ve discovered the first-ever doorway into millions of printers worldwide. In one demonstration of an attack based on the flaw, Stolfo and fellow researcher Ang Cui showed how a hijacked computer could be given instructions that would continuously heat up the printer’s fuser – which is designed to dry the ink once it’s applied to paper – eventually causing the paper to turn brown and smoke.

In that demonstration, a thermal switch shut the printer down – basically, causing it to self-destruct – before a fire started, but the researchers believe other printers might be used as fire starters, giving computer hackers a dangerous new tool that could allow simple computer code to wreak real-world havoc.

In all cases, the Columbia researchers claim, duping a would-be target into printing a virus-laden document is enough to take control of that person’s printer; but in some cases, printers are configured to accept print jobs via the Internet, meaning the virus can be installed remotely, without any interaction by the printer’s owner.

“It’s like selling a car without selling the keys to lock it,” Stolfo said. “It’s totally insecure.”

Columbia researcher Ang Cui explains how he was able to infect an HP printer with malicious code. Columbia University

Rewriting the printer’s firmware takes only about 30 seconds, and a virus would be virtually impossible to detect once installed. Only pulling the computer chips out of the printer and testing them would reveal an attack, Cui said. No modern antivirus software has the ability to scan, let alone fix, the software which runs on embedded chips in a printer.

 

There are plenty of points of contention between HP and the researchers, however. Moore, the HP executive, said the firm’s newer printers do require digitally signed firmware upgrades, and have since 2009. The printers tested by the researchers are older models, Moore said.

In contrast, the Columbia researchers say they purchased one of the printers they hacked in September at a major New York City office supply store.

In an exclusive demonstration for msnbc.com at Columbia University’s Intrusion Detection Systems Laboratory, Cui and Stolfo revealed the kind of havoc an attacker could wreak once they gained control of a printer. After sending a virus-laced print job to a target printer, the device’s small screen read, in sequence, “Erasing…Programming…Code Update Complete.”

In one demonstration, Cui printed a tax return on an infected printer, which in turn sent the tax form to a second computer playing the part of a hacker’s machine. The latter computer then scanned the document for critical information such as Social Security numbers, and when it found one, automatically published it on a Twitter feed.

A hacker who merely wanted to wreak havoc could easily disable thousands – or perhaps millions – of vulnerable printers, Cui said, as it is trivial to send the printer upgrades that would render it inoperable.


Choosing Copiers

choosing copiers

Choosing Copiers

Although it is true that technological advancements have made it easier for employees and customers to communicate digitally, the need for printed documentation, contracts, marketing materials and more has not been eliminated and choosing copiers hasn’t got any easier.

When it comes to selecting an office copier, printer or multi-function device for your office, there are a wide variety of options. However, no two offices have the same requirements for these machines. In order to define your office’s requirements, there are a few important questions to answer first.

HOW MANY EMPLOYEES NEED COPIER/PRINTER ACCESS?

We have found that it is common to under- or over-estimate your employees’ printing requirements. In order to prevent both scenarios, your first step is to determine how many employees in your office need access to the printer and copier on a daily basis. As an example, some smaller businesses may not need a high-volume multi-function copier if it doesn’t require heavy usage by numerous employees on a daily basis. On the other hand, a desktop printer may not be sufficient or cost effective to meet the entire office’s printing needs.

WHAT PRIMARY FUNCTIONS DOES YOUR OFFICE REQUIRE?

Multi-function devices are a great addition to most offices because they combine print, copy, scan, fax and finishing capabilities in one machine. A multi-function device can cut down on maintenance and supply costs, compared to operating separate machines for all of these requirements. However, if your business never uses fax as a form of a communication and rarely, if ever, scan documents, you don’t need to spend money on a multi-function printer that provides these capabilities.

The beauty in having options is that you will be able to find the device with functions you need – so you won’t end up investing in something you will never use.

DO YOU REQUIRE MOBILE PRINTING CAPABILITIES?

The advance of mobile in the last five years has enabled employees to not only access documents on the go, from mobile devices, but even send projects to their printers from those devices. If your employees require this kind of flexibility, you’ll need to select an office copier printer with a reliable, easy-to-use wireless interface. You’ll need copiers and printers in your office that support cloud printing.

Answering these questions can mean the difference between the perfect selection the first time, or lost productivity caused by a poor investment. The right machine for your office isn’t necessarily the one offering the most features or lowest price point. The right copiers and printers are the ones that fit seamlessly into the day-to-day operations in your workplace. The best way to find that machine is by answering these questions, before you start shopping.


Phone System for Start up Bussiness

phone system

PHONE SYSTEM

When you are starting a new business, you will get the need to pay attention towards many different factors from the scratch. The business phone system holds a prominent place out of them. The phone system of your business would be the primary method of communication with customers as well as employees. Therefore, you would get the need to have a phone system that matches perfectly well with your requirements and needs. Here are some effective tips that you can follow in order to choose the right phone system for your business startup.

 

From the recent studies, it has been identified that most of the business startups tend to select a VOIP system for the communication needs. VOIP, to be precise, Voice Over IP would help you to make calls through internet. This is one of the most affordable phone systems that are available for business startups to try. When you are starting a new business, you will have to spend money on a variety of expenditures. Therefore, it would not be possible for you to spend a fortune on the phone system. This is where VOIP can come to your survival. Another advantage associated with VOIP is that it is possible for you to have more than two people talking at the same time. This would help you to conduct business meetings with more than two people in a convenient manner.

 

While you are getting a phone system for your business startup, you will need to pay special attention towards flexibility as well. Your business is going to expand along with time. The phone system should be flexible enough to change according to that. Otherwise, you will have to deal with the frustration of changing your entire phone system.

 

If you are dealing with clients who are from different parts of the world, or if you are planning to get into international business ventures, you should go for a phone system that is compatible with that. As you already know, international calls are going to cost you a fortune. But if you take a look around, you will be able to note down few options, which would facilitate to take international calls at a reasonable price tag. However, you need to keep in mind that the cheapest service provider would not be able to provide you with the best possible service in the long run. Therefore, you must look for a service provider, which has maintained an excellent reputation throughout the past. Taking a look at customer reviews that are posted online will assist you to come across the best service provider.

 

While managing the business, you would never want to go through the hassle associated with maintaining or troubleshooting the issues of your phone system. This is why you must look for a phone system that offers an excellent customer support service. Whenever you come across an issue, you just need to get in touch with the customer support team.


How Managed Printing Services saves you time and money

managed printing services

Many companies wonder how managed printing services saves you time and money . In many companies, the IT department is tasked with the work of managing the print services in all the offices. This involves connecting the printers to the machines, repairing and supporting the print environment. Every time that there is a problem, the IT person rushes to the printer to handle the problem if not online service.

Unfortunately, IT people are not the print experts. It takes time for them to diagnose a problem and look for a solution. All this time, anyone that needs to make copies has to seek printing services, which are overly expensive. At the same time, the IT team leaves whatever they are doing to handle the problem. If the company has several offices supported by a central team, it really disrupts the work schedule of the team. This can drag important projects well past the deadline especially if the printers are breaking down frequently.

What are managed print services?

Managed Print services involve monitoring copiers and printers from a given remote location. From the location, they can predict the problems that may occur, schedule regular maintenance services and repair the printer when it breaks down unexpectedly.

They also work with the businesses to control the use of the printer in order to cut the costs. It cuts down on unauthorized use of the printers as well as what can be printed or not. This may include setting up quotas and restricting printing. In addition, the print experts advise you on when to upgrade your equipment and what would work for your organization in terms of efficiency and monthly printing cycle.

The use of managed printing serves frees the IT team from managing and supporting the printing environment so that they do other work.

Many companies that offer the service can provide you with another printing machine as they work on repairing your printer. You will also not lose your employees to looking for a suitable technician to handle the repairs.

The cost of maintaining a printer is higher than paying for managed printer services. On the other hand, your printer is repaired by an expert in the field ensuring quality services. Moreover, you bid goodbye to such embarrassing situations as running out of ink, having roller problems and forgetting about regular maintenance.

In essence, with managed printing services, you just print and worry less about what needs to be done about the printer at a little monthly cost.


Expensive Copiers

Expensive Copiers 

It is not always cheap to get a quality copier because the more efficient a printer will sometimes cost more money to buy. There are though, really expensive copiers out there! You need to conduct thorough research about copiers and come up with the best that meets all your objectives without considering the amount it will cost you to buy. We usually try to talk about features and reliability, but today we’re going a different direction. Below , we have listed some of the highest costing machines and some of their features.

IBM Info Print 2085

IBM Info Print 2085 has a broad range of features that adds to its flexibility and efficiency and makes it the most expensive copier worldwide. The printer has an excellent paper storage space that can hold up to 7,550 sheets and is also a high-speed printer capable of printing 85 high-resolution pages every single minute.  The copier is a multi-functioning printing system which is capable of printing and photocopying. Its paper holding capacity allows it to intertwine different colored stock with no payments on manual insertion. The copier can roughly cost you around $31,000.

HP Laserjet 1160

This custom copier is also a functioning printer just like the IBM Info Print 2085 but is smaller in size. The printer is normally coated in 24 karat gold that has made it worth around $20,000. It gives you a high-quality printout with the great features in it. HP Laserjet 1160 is capable of photocopying and printing a large quantity of work in few minutes. This machine was available in Dubai only.

Lexmark X854e MPF

This printer has a great deal for paper storage space of approximately 5100 sheets allowing making it capable of printing 55 pages per minute. The multifunctional laser printer does not only handle a large volume of paper with its speed, but it also helps in the provision of security measures for the communication network and data such as the hard disk data wiping and security sockets layer. The functionality of this printer makes it cost approximately $17,000.

Xerox Phaser 7400DXF

Most of the Xerox Phaser printers are usually inexpensive, but Xerox Phaser 7400DXF has a typically high price tag than the rest. Its high speed of printing a massive number of papers within a minute and its large paper storage space greatly contributes to its high price of $7,600. It boosts with a speed of printing 40 pages in a minute.

Canon Image PROGRAF W8200

The image PROGRAF w8200 copier is a wide format printer that utilizes a one-inch printhead with 7,600 nozzles the printer takes approximately two minutes produce a color page.  It has a capability of supporting up to 44-inch wide paper roll. With the great features of the printer, it can cost you $7,200.

If you found this list to be extreme, call Action Imaging Group today, for more reasonable options to fit every budget!


Business Phone Systems

phone systems

Business Phone Systems

Phone systems are pivotal for businesses to communicate with fellow employees and customers and you are deciding on what you should have, but there are a lot of different options out there. For your small business, you want to get the greatest quality phone systems you can get for the money you have put into it, and we support that. You want efficiency, reliability, and simplicity, but you might not be sure what exactly that implies. The following is a short guide to help you figure out What To Expect in the Best Business Phone Systems.

 

Phone System Flexibility

The best business phone systems will allow you to have real flexibility with what constitutes as a business phone. Certainly, not all people working in your business will be in the office but people will still be calling for them. A flexible phone system will allow you to connect mobile phones and your business phone system via the internet, which will enable calls to be forwarded straight to whoever’s phone is needed, wherever, all through the same number.

 

Phone System Reliability

A superb phone system will be extremely reliable, otherwise it’s like buying a Ferrari put together will Elmer’s Glue. You payed for something that looks nice out of the box but falls apart when you need it. Reliability is a key factor to maintain in every business, so it is extremely necessary to have something as widely used as your phone system be the same.

 

Features

Your system should offer you a variety of features to aid you in a variety of different situations you may find yourself in. These features can include, though certainly are not limited to, voicemail-to-email messaging allowing you to hear your business line voicemails from any personal device or computer. As well as auto-receptionists, for the occasions where a receptionist is not available, as you never want to leave a potential customer on voicemail if you can help it.

 

Easy To Use

Using your phone system should not feel like you need a degree in Telecommunication, but rather be quick and simple, as your business needs to run at maximum efficiency, and certainly not be slowed down by a lack of communication. Your system should allow anyone to whom you desire to take control of reception to learn relatively quick, and furthermore allow anybody in the office utilize it to their needs in any given situation without time-consuming difficulties.

Overall, you want what you came for. You need to be able to connect people and communicate freely without technology infringement, but instead it’s enhancement. You want overall ease of access and the peace of mind that a reliable phone system provides, as well as a wide variety of useful features your entire business will be sure to enjoy. If you’re trying to figure out what to expect in the best phones systems, these are key aspects to keep your eye on that you do not want to leave out.


Repairs Needed for Your Copier

copier

The Most Common Repairs Needed for Your Copier

Anyone who has ever owned a copier or printer has probably ran into more than a few problems along the way. It seems that when it comes to buying these machines we are accepting the inevitable fate of having to play mechanic and experiment with a variety of different methods to fix seemingly simple and common problems that appear. That’s why I have come up with a list of The Most Common Repairs Needed for Your Copier and how you can probably fix them.

 

Paper Jam

Paper jams appear the most often and among the most frustrating issue. Perfectly good paper goes in, and crushed useless paper, sometimes, comes out. Paper jams can be caused by inserting the wrong paper size into the copier or not having the paper properly aligned before it gets used. These cause the paper to get pulled in incorrectly and will require you to manually remove the jammed paper yourself.

 

Streaks

Streaks are disheartening, just when you think it’s all going right, your paper comes out with thin black bars or other obscure marks on it. This could be caused by something on the scanner glass and would require you to remove it and clean it and the mirrors. Other potential errors most likely lead to drum, drum blade, developer, or fuse malfunctions and are best to have the broken pieces replaced.

 

Cartridge

If the prints are coming out faded, then you most likely just need to replace your toner with a fresh cartridge and it should work good as new, but there may also be a malfunction. The cartridge may be a dud or it may just be the wrong one for your unit. Bring or send the fault cartridge back from where you purchased it along with the bad prints and request a replacement with the proper version.

 

Crumbled Pages

You want your pages to come out looking fresh and neat, not like they were just in some sort of underground copier street fight. If they are coming out this way, your exit rollers and feed are probably worn out. If this seems to be the issue, you’ll need to bring in a professional to fix it. It can also be an old paper tray, which can easily be replaced.

There are some of the most common repairs needed for your copier, with their most common solutions. It’s important to note with any problem you are not 100% sure you are able to fix or possess the ability to fix, contact your copier provider or a technician first, as attempting to take apart your copier could lead to further problems.


Document Management Systems

top 5 reasons to buy a copier

How to save time and money with document management solutions

Every day, individuals in a company create hundreds of documents. It may take someone forever to trace those spreadsheet or world documents that you took your time to compile. Document management solutions help organize the documents to improve communication and access to the electronic documents.

 Why it is important to manage the documents

Different people could work on a single document in the company. Locating it is a hit-miss experience. You have to know the last person that had the document and find where he or she decided to store the document. Statistically speaking, a company loses 150 working hours a year looking for documents. Here is how the document management programs help save time.

  • Folder and tags

Windows operating systems only allows you to organize the documents in folders and sub-folders. However, you may forget the document name. A document management system allows you to label the documents so to know the kid of the content that is in them. Searching for the document is as easy as searching for the tag.

  • Easy search features

The DMS has a feature that allows you to search the documents quickly. Most software have advanced search features that let you search the files with a multiple search criteria. There is even OCR for the scanned documents to help you trace them fast.

  • Index different document types

The DMS helps you index information about the file. For example, index information such as a check, invoice, proposal and so on. It can also help you get the indexing information such as the check number. This makes the document search really fast.

  • File integration

The DMS allows you to integrate the files into existing databases and company calendars to alert the staff on upcoming tasks and deadlines for the ongoing tasks.

  • Allows collaboration

Using the DMS, the staff can work on the same document at the same time and effect the changes in real time. This shortens the time used to correct the documents. In the same line, the DMS allows for audit trails where one can tell who worked on which document and the changes that were made. This maintains the integrity of the original document and allows for reversals.

  • Advanced security

The DMS has advanced security features to allow only the authorized users to access the information. It also allows easy backup and recovery to enable retrieval in case of a disaster or theft.


Phone Systems

Phone Systems

Modern Phone System Features for Businesses

Modern Phone Systems are key to proper communication, and is central to a successful business venture. The ability for a business to communicate effectively with other/different businesses helps it market its offers, correct feedback and serve the market effectively. The phone technology has improved over the years giving the business more tools to communicate effectively. Below are some of the most essential and common modern phone features for the business.

Automatic Follow me, Find me and Call Forward

This is a feature where the caller is redirected through alternative devices until he or she gets someone to answer the call or is invited to leave a message to the recipient.

When a call comes to the office extension and there is no one to answer, it is routed to the smartphone of the recipient. If still not available, it is routed to a colleague’s number or the caller asked to leave a message. This helps the business track callers and reach them as fast as possible even when employees are not in office.

Auto Attendant

Auto attendant replaces human attendants and receives callers, greets them, gives them a list of options and the redirects their calls to the right department or extension. Auto attendants lower the costs of having to hire call attendants and ensure that clients get to the right departments without much ado. It also shows professionalism.

Conference Calling

As businesses spread across different locations, there is always a need to come together and deliberate about some few issues. The conference-calling feature enables colleagues and customers to set up a meeting across different locations without having to travel to a single location. This saves the business valuable time as wells as the cost of travel. It also reduces the carbon footprint of a business.

Call Management Platform

Managing a phone system with several lines, VOIP, and other features can be cumbersome and time consuming. Luckily, it is now possible to manage the phone system in one platform or a single online portal. The system administrator can update the list of contacts, assign calling quotas to employees, generate reports, add new extension, and configure the auto attendant and much more. The company offering the service can also log into the system and do maintenance of the system remotely.

Easy management of your phone system helps in lowering cost, troubleshooting problems and saving time when putting the phone system in order. The administrator does not even need to be a highly trained expert in phone systems to run a phone management system.


Copier Repair Expenses

The Expense of Copier Repair

Even with the development of business communications systems, every business requires having a copier to print some of the business correspondence, purchase orders, invoices, tender documents, memos and so much more.

Your copier requires servicing from time to time depending on the usage. Sometimes the copier breaks down and requires repairs. Consumables such as toners, waste containers, and drums require replacement after they are used up.

The cost of repairing the copiers may depend on the size, the extent of damage and the model. Moreover, copier repairs without a service agreement tend to be more expensive than copiers repairs when you have a service agreement.

The average copier for a medium sized organization makes around 8,000 copies per month of which 6,500 are black and white while the rest are colored copies

With a copier of such a size, it costs $150 per hour for an average service call. In a year, there are expected to be around five service calls. The total cost per year goes to about $750.

Toner Costs

The average black toner costs around $350. The average cost of a color toner is about $150 of which they are four. In a year, the company may need about three. This brings the total cost to about $2850

As for the waste toner, it costs an average of $100 to replace after 43,000 copies. As for the drum cartridges, they cost $390 for replacement after about 125,000 copies. The average expense for servicing the whole piece could go well past $3,500 a year.  Make sure to call Action Imaging Group before you commit.

Bringing Down the Costs

 Sign up for a Maintenance Service

To bring down the cost of repair, you may sign up to a maintenance agreement with the supplier. The cost of repair is usually lower than buying the parts and paying for the labor from the pocket. However, you need to do your calculations according to the given prices.

Train the Users on the Correct Use of the Copier

Most of the repairs result from copier misuse. It is good not to assume that everyone knows how to use a copier, have the staff instructed on the proper use and care of the machine.

Repair Small Problems on Time

Preventive measures and speedy servicing of the small problems helps lengthen the lifespan of the copier. Changing the consumables such as the waste bin, toners, and drums on time also ensure that the printer performs well. You should also read the manual on how to clean and did with each notification and alarm.