Canon, a world-renowned printer manufacturer, recently issued a security advisory imploring its customers to manually delete sensitive Wi-Fi settings before disposing, selling, or repairing their printers. This move comes as the company discovered that crucial Wi-Fi settings do not get erased automatically during standard reset procedures, potentially leaving these data vulnerable to misuse.
Canon officials on Monday’s advisory stated –
“Sensitive information on the Wi-Fi connection settings stored in the memories of inkjet printers (home and office/large format) may not be deleted by the usual initialization process.”
They went on to stress that users should manually remove these settings anytime a printer might fall into third-party hands, including instances of repair, disposal, or even lending.
In the digital age, many printers, Canon’s included, are equipped with the capability to connect to networks via Wi-Fi. This advanced feature necessitates users input their SSID name, password to prevent unauthorized network access, and, in certain cases, additional data. These extra data may include the Wi-Fi network type, the local network IP address, the network profile, and the MAC address.
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While it would be a reasonable assumption to believe that a simple factory reset, which returns all settings to their default state, would suffice to clear these sensitive settings, Canon’s recent advisory contradicts this belief. It revealed that a simple reset might not fully wipe the stored data. If such sensitive information is compromised, malicious actors could exploit it to gain unauthorized access to a network that houses a Canon printer.
Canon advises its users not to solely rely on the default reset function. For printers equipped with a dedicated reset function, users should:
- Reset all settings (Navigate to Reset settings, then select Reset all)
- Enable the wireless LAN
- Repeat step 1 by resetting all settings again
For Canon printers lacking a dedicated reset function, the procedure is slightly different:
- Reset LAN settings
- Enable the wireless LAN
- Repeat step 1 by resetting LAN settings again
The company’s advisory listed close to 200 models that are affected by this data retention issue. Canon has promised updates on any new developments and is also considering firmware updates to address this potential security breach in future models.
This advisory underscores the importance of user awareness in the age of IoT and digital connectivity. Consumers need to be cautious and take responsibility for managing their device settings to ensure their data remains secure, even when disposing of or handing over their devices for repair.
To this end, Canon’s proactive approach to sharing this information with their users marks a positive step towards ensuring better data security in their product lineup.