HP offers secure document printing

HP added a software-and-hardware layer to prevent print jobs from being security threats.

Hewlett-Packard introduced this week a security technology that ensures printed documents get to the right people and protects against malware.

HP's Secure Print Advantage is a set of hardware and software components that encrypts documents sent to a printer and completes the print job after a user is verified through authentication. It is a part of the HP Secure Advantage program, which encompasses HP's security assets, know-how and technologies.

"[Secure Print Advantage] allows customers to look at print and imaging infrastructure and be able to set and ensure a security policy," said Gary Lefkowitz, director of marketing and operations at HP. The technology encrypts print documents and authenticates users to prevent document theft. It also scans print jobs to prevent network intrusion and spread of malware, he said.

After a print document is encrypted at a desktop, it sits on a secure document server until it is decrypted and printed by a workgroup printer after user authentication. Printers can be across the hall or in different countries, Lefkowitz said.

The system is built using a mix of industry standards, Lefkowitz said. It supports different authentication techniques including smartcards, biometrics or LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), depending on what a customer requests, Lefkowitz said. Encryption techniques supported by the system include AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), RSA and CCE (Common Criteria EAL 4+). It supports any TCP/IP printer.

Printers have been used in the past to spread malware. In 2006, HP pulled a printer driver from its Web site after security vendor BitDefender reported the software was infected with malware. Secure Print Advantage scans every print job for malware, Lefkowitz said.

It will be available worldwide in February. Pricing has not yet been determined, Lefkowitz said.

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