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 user 2008-02-18 at 2:36:00 pm Views: 73
  • #20981

    Epson puts smartcard reader on laser printer
    has announced an extreme solution to the problem of users who print
    sensitive documents to network queues but then forget to pick them up
    - a printer that requires a smartcard before it will print.
    to be printed using the EpsonNet Authentication Print system are first
    stored on a server much as they would be with any network print queue.
    But where a conventional print queue simply spools the documents in the
    correct driver format, the Epson system holds them on the server until
    a user causes the job to be printed by presenting one of a number of
    types of access cards – contactless or proximity smartcards are
    supported.According to Epson, the technology should interest companies
    in a range of sectors such as banking, healthcare, education, hotels
    and, inevitably, the military, basically anyone who has cause to worry
    about the undisciplined use of laser printers.

    The kit comprises
    an interface card, which slots into the printer itself, a contactless
    card reader and 10 swipe cards, and requires server management
    software. Epson models supported include the EPL-N2550, EPL-N3000,
    Aculaser 2600, Aculaser C2600, Aculaser C3800, Aculaser C4200, and
    Aculaser C9100“EpsonNet Authentication Print & Server products
    provide a viable and cost-effective solution for any business or
    organisation, regardless of scale. With this new innovation, Epson is
    meeting the demands of a range of markets where document security is of
    paramount importance,” said Epson UK’s Mark Karsey.

    Some will be
    cynical that a printer company is looking for new, costly proprietary
    add-ons for a technology most IT staff already hate, but it is equally
    true that paper documents are both essential to every organisation and
    highly insecure.Few security seminars devote much time warning that
    printed information can easily fall into the wrong hands, despite the
    fact that a significant percentage of the documents that spew from the
    average corporate network printer in any one day probably fall into the
    ‘sensitive’ category.

    Assuming that companies can face the
    hassle of managing yet another piece of insecure hardware – the
    smartcards – this system could have some advantages. The issue it
    addresses is certainly on the rise for all sorts of reasons, including
    regulatory compliance.The system is relatively expensive on a
    per-printer basis – each printer kit costs £567 (ex VAT) – but it is
    likely that an organisation would only need a small number of printers
    to be secured per site. The EpsonNet Authentication Server software
    costs £707.Thus far, printer security concerns haven’t always gone much
    beyond stopping users gaining access to print queues themselves. Last
    May, a worm was reported by one security vendor that attempted to print
    a picture of an owl from infected PCs as an elaborate practical joke,
    while more recently a security researcher published details on how to
    spam companies using their own printers.