Your Fax Machine Is A Security Risk, And Here’s Why

Alex Flitton
Aug 13, 2018 9:58:44 AM

For most dealers and companies across the world, the fax machine is decades-old technology that doesn’t need to be revisited. However, for others, it is an integral part of their daily operations. In fact, analysts expect fax machine usage to grow 25% over two years–starting in 2017. So, as the technology continues to be used and developed, the software and vulnerabilities do as well.

Fax Machine Vulnerabilities

According to an investigation by Checkpoint, the communication protocols in the HP Officejet Pro and many other fax and multifunction printers are vulnerable to attacks.

Basically, the attack takes the following form. First, attackers obtain a company’s fax number, which is usually supplied on its website, to send a specially-created image file to the machine. And, without the recipient’s knowledge, the malware is embedded into the image file. So, when the fax machine decodes the file and uploads it to its memory, the malware is enabled.

Attackers can attack using ransomware like WannyCry and NotPetya to access sensitive customer data or disrupt the network that the fax machine is connected to.

What An Attack Looks Like

Many people believe they are unimportant and do not have anything important to steal. However, dealers who keep their customers’ information like social security numbers, addresses, medical information, phone numbers and credit card information must do everything in their power to protect it.

In 2017, a ransomware attack hit 200,000 victims, crippling a massive technology infrastructure. The attack even shut down hospitals, causing them to delay important medical procedures.

Here’s what they learned after the attack.

How To Protect Your Fax Machine From Attack

Luckily, manufacturers like HP and others have already created software fixes for the vulnerabilities. That leaves the customers to update their software. And the same goes for nearly every device that connects to a network. It is vital for each and every device to have the latest software update installed because the updates are almost always security related.

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