You might look at an old fax machine or dusty printer and just see out-of-date technology that you can't even use to send email. You might look at the company mailroom as just a place to collect unsolicited junk mail you'll soon throw in the trash. Attackers may see something different: vulnerabilities, often ignored by your security department. Cyberrattacks on non-computer vectors are more common than you think.
For example, Check Point Software Technologies research on all-in-one machines this August found vulnerabilities in the popular HP Officejet Pro All-in-One fax printers. According to the Check Point research, the same protocols are also used by many other vendors’ faxes and multi-function printers, and in popular online fax services such as fax2email, so it’s highly possible that these are also vulnerable to attack by the same method. While not the most modern technology, 62 percent of respondents to a Spiceworks survey in 2017 said that they are still supporting physical fax machines, and 82 percent of respondents to an IDC survey reported that their use of faxing actually increased in 2017. Faxes especially are still widely used in the healthcare, legal, banking, and real estate sectors, where organizations store and process vast amounts of highly sensitive personal data.
That's just one example of the often overlooked attack vectors on systems and environments not used for traditional computing. Read on for more.
In developing this feature, we talked to security researchers at InGuardians and IOActive, two companies that specialize in penetration testing, to help businesses uncover network vulnerabilities. We talked with Tyler Robinson, senior managing security analyst and head of offensive services at InGuardians; and John H. Sawyer, director of red team services at IOActive.
Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio