Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

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. 
The Problem with Proprietary Testing: NSS Labs vs. CrowdStrike
Brian Monkman, Executive Director at NetSecOPEN,  7/19/2019
How Attackers Infiltrate the Supply Chain & What to Do About It
Shay Nahari, Head of Red-Team Services at CyberArk,  7/16/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-13096
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
TronLink Wallet 2.2.0 stores user wallet keystore in plaintext and places them in insecure storage. An attacker can read and reuse the user keystore of a valid user via /data/data/com.tronlink.wallet/shared_prefs/<wallet-name>.xml to gain unauthorized access.
CVE-2019-13097
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
The application API of Cat Runner Decorate Home version 2.8.0 for Android does not sufficiently verify inputs that are assumed to be immutable but are actually externally controllable. Attackers can manipulate users' score parameters exchanged between client and server.
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
OFFIS.de DCMTK 3.6.3 and below is affected by: Buffer Overflow. The impact is: Possible code execution and confirmed Denial of Service. The component is: DcmRLEDecoder::decompress() (file dcrledec.h, line 122). The attack vector is: Many scenarios of DICOM file processing (e.g. DICOM to image conver...
CVE-2019-12326
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
Missing file and path validation in the ringtone upload function of the Akuvox R50P VoIP phone 50.0.6.156 allows an attacker to upload a manipulated ringtone file, with an executable payload (shell commands within the file) and trigger code execution.
CVE-2019-13100
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
The Send Anywhere application 9.4.18 for Android stores confidential information insecurely on the system (i.e., in cleartext), which allows a non-root user to find out the username/password of a valid user via /data/data/com.estmob.android.sendanywhere/shared_prefs/sendanywhere_device.xml.