Fax machines may seem outdated, but they remain popular devices for business operators.
Banking and real estate companies can use fax when the client's signatures on documents are required quickly. Legal entities still use guaranteed delivery and fast document printing, and healthcare professionals who are bound by HIPAA privacy rules for patient data can choose them instead of several modern methods of document management.
According to research conducted in 2015, there are still around 46.3 million fax machines, of which 1
While many IT vendors, technology giants and cyber security researchers worldwide solve and resolve security vulnerabilities in modern technologies such as mobile devices, operating systems and browsers, older technologies may be unintentionally ignored – pacing the way cyber attackers act.
Researchers have highlighted this issue by demonstrating how newly discovered vulnerabilities in fax communications protocols can be used to compromise both corporate and consumer rights.
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On Sunday at Def Con 26 in Las Vegas, Check Point Malware Research Team Lead Yaniv Balmas and Security Researcher Eyal Itkin presented his findings in fax security.
The researchers showed that there was a security vulnerability in the HP Officejet Pro All-in-One fax machine, especially the HP Officejet Pro 6830 All-In-One Printer and OfficeJet Pro 8720.
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Fax Numbers can easily be found by browsing a corporate website or requesting the information directly – and this is all that is needed to exploit the new errors. Once this number has been acquired, the attackers can send a maliciously crafted image file by fax to a potential victim.
The detected vulnerabilities contained a stack-based buffer error surface security and "Devil's Ivy" (CVE 2017-976), which allows remote code execution through data processing errors.
According to researchers, an image file can be encrypted with malware, including ransomware, cryptominers, or monitoring tools. Vulnerabilities in the fax machine's communication protocols can then be utilized to decode and upload malware payloads to memory.
If malicious software is loaded into memory and fax machines are connected to networks, malware has the ability to spread and compromise additional systems
Check Point disclosed its findings to HP, which developed and distributed firmware updates in response.
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"The same protocols are also used by many other vendors and multifunction printers, and in online fax services, such as fax2email, so it's likely that these are also vulnerable to attack by the same method, "the team said. "This new vector poses a serious threat to organizations that may not be aware of the availability of the entire network and how all their most sensitive information can be exposed, through an equipment still on the shelf that collects dust."
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