Tips to Eliminate Faxploitation
When fax machines were first introduced they revolutionized document transmission and communications—and whether your organization still utilizes fax technology or prefers to conduct business in the digital realm, chances are you still have one or more of these devices in your office today. Unfortunately, your standalone fax machine or the fax component on your all-in-one printer can put your entire network at risk of theft or attack from hackers, but there is a solution. Read on to learn more about how your outdated office technology can be used against you and the best ways to increase your network printer security.
What is Faxploitation?
Faxploitation is a term that is used to describe the infiltration of a computer network, through the exploitation of vulnerabilities found in fax machines and all-in-one printers. While many industries still occasionally use this technology, it remains the preferred method of communication among many healthcare, legal and government professionals.
Check Point researchers recently discovered and illustrated the methods used by hackers to gain control over a computer network, using a phone line and the company fax number:
- The hacker obtains the fax number from a business card, marketing materials or the company website.
- The hacker establishes a connection with the printer by dialing the number.
- A malicious file that is disguised as an image file is sent to the printer.
- The image is stored in the printer’s memory and the hacker is able to take over the printer.
- The hacker gains access to the IT network the printer is connected to.
Depending on the motivation and intended target, hackers may opt to code the malicious file with surveillance tools, ransomware or cryptocurrency miners in an effort to steal sensitive information for financial gain or leverage.
Tips to Enhance Network Security
While the most obvious solution would be to eliminate the use of fax machines, many industries still rely on this technology and consider it to be a safe form of communication. In the event that the replacement or upgrading of equipment is either cost prohibitive or detrimental to the nature of the business, there are a number of additional options you can explore to increase your network security, including:
Enhanced System Surveillance and Monitoring – By taking a professional, hands-on approach to monitoring your company’s print assets you may be able to reduce your risk of unauthorized system access. Installing endpoint protections across all your networked devices adds another layer of security to endpoints within and outside of the network.
Network Segmentation – By segmenting your printers into a separate network you can eliminate access to your sensitive information in the event of a security breach. If your all-in-one printer becomes compromised, the attacker will be prevented from moving laterally and infecting other components of your IT network.
Routine Updates – Software patches and updates are released by the vendor as vulnerabilities are discovered, and should be routinely installed to enhance the security of the network.
Contact us at Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office for more ways to keep your data protected.