Risk

8/31/2018
10:40 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

How Hackers Hit Printers

New Booz Allen Hamilton report advises companies to include printers in their overall security strategy.

Networked printers increasingly are becoming targets of hackers as these devices often aren't secured by enterprises.

A new study cited by Booz Allen Hamilton found that of 61% of survey respondents who reported a data loss incident in 2016, at least 50% had at least one such incident linked to a printer. The 2017 survey by Quocirca included 200 companies with more than 1,000 employees.

The security incidents included digitally intercepted print jobs (50%), loss of data from printer hard disks (48%), mailing of documents via multifunction printers to external sources (44%), and printers getting hacked to gain network access (18%).

"Today's office printers are full-functional computers that have a printer, scanner, photocopier, and a fax machine, as well as an email platform with local storage, wireless networking, and an operating system," says Nate Beach-Westmoreland, head of strategic threat intelligence for Booz Allen and author of the printer portion of the firm's new Cyber4Sight report. "Security pros need to prioritize network printers as such."

Some of the most common types of cyberattacks on printers include disabling printers for ransom and abusing insecure printers for vandalism or vigilantism.

Brian Minick, Booz Allen's vice president of cybersecurity, says state-linked criminals believed to be out of North Korea have regularly targeted printers in their cyberattacks on banks. They disabled printers used to confirm SWIFT network transfers, for example, in the attacks on City Union Bank in India and the Bank of Bangladesh.

"After gaining access to a network from some other entry point, bad threat actors often disable printers as a distraction or way to cover their tracks during a broader attack that makes bank transfers to the criminal's bank account," Minick explains. 

Printer giant HP recently launched a bug bounty program with Bugcrowd where it will pay up to $10,000 per vulnerability found in its enterprise printers, a move that underscores how these devices are becoming targets.

"We agree that, like the PC, printers have become incredibly powerful devices with increased storage and processing power," says Shivaun Albright, chief technologist of print security for HP. "We haven't reached the awareness-level, though, to secure print devices and implement all the good security practices that are employed to protect PCs and other important nodes in the network."

There's a gap today in discussions between decision makers and those implementing the technology, she says, as well as mismanagement in the deployment of printers. Companies leave critical ports and settings open, making it easy for attackers to remotely access the device. Albright recommends that customers work with their channel partner to leverage a managed print-services program.  

Booz Allen’s Minick and Beach-Westmoreland say printer vendors need to respond to vulnerabilities the way Microsoft did when it set up Patch Tuesday for Windows systems, offering regular security updates. 

Meanwhile, enterprises need to get visibility into their printer security, they say, and build continuous network monitoring into their environments in order to monitor printers the same way they do with network firewalls, switches, routers, and servers.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat Europe returns to London Dec 3-6 2018  with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
jenshadus
50%
50%
jenshadus,
User Rank: Strategist
9/6/2018 | 12:06:54 PM
Re: No surprise here
I don't remember that incident.  But I do remember that part of our pentest on banks included printers and fax machines.  This was back in the 90's.  Have we forgotten so much?
REISEN1955
100%
0%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
9/4/2018 | 8:57:18 AM
No surprise here
I remember ages ago when a simple Google search string was posted that opened up the internal web page built into HP OfficeJet printers.  Almost ALL of them around the world!!!   It was that bad and showed the IP address assigned to each OfficeJet.  Incredible which, to a hacker, is an invite - here we have an internal address.  Wonderful and a web page too.  I don't see that anymore but scant attention is always given to these odd internal endpoints and their web page data. 
New Cold Boot Attack Gives Hackers the Keys to PCs, Macs
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/13/2018
Yahoo Class-Action Suits Set for Settlement
Dark Reading Staff 9/17/2018
RDP Ports Prove Hot Commodities on the Dark Web
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/17/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: In Russia, application hangs YOU!
Current Issue
Flash Poll
How Data Breaches Affect the Enterprise
How Data Breaches Affect the Enterprise
This report, offers new data on the frequency of data breaches, the losses they cause, and the steps that organizations are taking to prevent them in the future. Read the report today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-6693
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-18
An unprivileged user can delete arbitrary files on a Linux system running ENSLTP 10.5.1, 10.5.0, and 10.2.3 Hotfix 1246778 and earlier. By exploiting a time of check to time of use (TOCTOU) race condition during a specific scanning sequence, the unprivileged user is able to perform a privilege escal...
CVE-2018-16515
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-18
Matrix Synapse before 0.33.3.1 allows remote attackers to spoof events and possibly have unspecified other impacts by leveraging improper transaction and event signature validation.
CVE-2018-16794
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-18
Microsoft ADFS 4.0 Windows Server 2016 and previous (Active Directory Federation Services) has an SSRF vulnerability via the txtBoxEmail parameter in /adfs/ls.
CVE-2018-16819
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-18
admin/index.php in Monstra CMS 3.0.4 allows arbitrary file deletion via id=filesmanager&path=uploads/.......//./.......//./&delete_file= requests.
CVE-2018-16820
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-18
admin/index.php in Monstra CMS 3.0.4 allows arbitrary directory listing via id=filesmanager&path=uploads/.......//./.......//./ requests.