Fax Printers Could Compromise Network Security, Say Experts.

Fax Printers Could Compromise Network Security, Say Experts

2 November 2018

Working with our print management solutions team is a surefire way to improve efficiency and productivity when it comes to printing and IT in your workplace, and often, updating printing equipment is the best step forward in modernising your workspace.

If that wasn’t reason enough, a team of experts have demonstrated that out of date office printers with a fax function could be compromising the security of your network, leaving a door open that leaves it vulnerable to hackers.

Undoubtedly, the fax function is not one that you’ll use in a modern office, but many business contacts still include a fax number in their correspondence, whether that’s on your website or on your employees’ business cards.

With just that information, hackers could infiltrate your network - that’s what a team of security experts showed at Check Point Research recently showcased, according to Digital Trends. The fax function means that the printer can be accessed remotely, and through that hackers could gain access to all devices on the same network.

In the demonstration, the team installed a malware which allowed hackers to pull a document and print it on a remote fax machine, however, this technique could also be used to tamper with fax content and intercept fax correspondence.

It may not sound hugely important given the even-reducing amount that faxes are used, but where they are used, its often with sensitive and important correspondence under which hackers may be able to extort money. Ransomware is another problem that could occur from an attack under such a guise, denying access to certain files until payment to hackers is made.

The technique has been coined with the term ‘faxploit’, and many are worried that the idea has become a ‘published recipe’ for hackers to explore further and see what damage they can do.

CEO of Symphion, Jim LaRoe, said that printers, while common in most workplaces, are being ignored in terms of cyber security:

“Printers are most often not on a separate network, and even if they are, are not managed for security and are often on wheels in the middle of offices, or say an emergency room, with physical (and often digital) access to everyone.”

When it comes to taking precautions, selling off any old fax machine isn’t always a necessity - as there are options to secure them as much as possible. With the dwindling reliance on fax as a part of everyday office life, fax numbers can also be limited to a need to know a piece of data for anyone outside of the organisations, helping to shut off this access point. 

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