Experts warn millions of fax machines are at risk of being hacked

Beware the fax machine: Experts warn MILLIONS of office gadgets are at risk of being hacked – and many are too old to be updated

  • Cyber security firm Check Point found flaws in tens of millions of fax machines
  • Hack works by sending image through phone line coded with malicious software
  • When company receives the photo, it’s decoded and uploaded into fax’s memory
  • Experts recommend that companies check if their fax machines can be updated
  • They also recommend placing fax devices on a secure network that is separate
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What could be less threatening than the old office fax machine? Nothing. 

That’s precisely why it’s used as a backdoor for hackers to get into an organization’s network.

Check Point, a cyber security firm in Israel, said Sunday that their research discovered security flaws in tens of millions of fax machines.

The hack works by sending an image file through the phone line – or a file that the fax machine thinks is an image file – and that is coded to contain malicious software. 


What could be less threatening than the old office fax machine? Nothing. That’s precisely why it’s used as a backdoor for hackers to get into an organization’s network, experts warn. Stock image

When a company receives the photo, the image is decoded and uploaded into the fax-printer’s memory, allowing the hackers to take over the device and spreading the malicious code through the network.

‘Many companies may not even be aware they have a fax machine connected to their network, but fax capability is built into many multifunction office and home printers,’ said Yaniv Balmas, group manager of security research at Check Point.

The researchers focused on Hewlett Packard’s OfficeJet Pro all-in-one fax printers – the global market leader for fax machines. 

Hewlett Packard quickly fixed the issue – a patch is available on their support page – but the same vulnerabilities are present in most fax machines, including those by Canon and Epson.

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Many machines are too old to even update. 

That means it will be difficult for companies to stop hackers from entering their system.

Globally, businesses use an estimated 45 million fax machines. 


Check Point, a cyber security firm in Israel, said Sunday that their research discovered security flaws in tens of millions of fax machines. The researchers focused on Hewlett Packard’s OfficeJet Pro all-in-one fax printers – the global market leader for fax machines. File photo

WHICH SMART HOUSEHOLD GADGETS ARE VULNERABLE TO CYBER ATTACKS?

From devices that order our groceries to smart toys that speak to our children, high-tech home gadgets are no longer the stuff of science fiction.

But even as they transform our lives, they put families at risk from criminal hackers taking advantage of security flaws to gain virtual access to homes.

A June 2017 Which? study tested whether popular smart gadgets and appliances, including wireless cameras, a smart padlock and a children’s Bluetooth toy, could stand up to a possible hack.

The survey of 15 devices found that eight were vulnerable to hacking via the internet, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. 


Scary: Which? said ethical hackers broke into the CloudPets toy and made it play its own voice messages. They said any stranger could use the method to speak to children from outside

The test found that the Fredi Megapix home CCTV camera system operated over the internet using a default administrator account without a password, and Which? found thousands of similar cameras available for anyone to watch the live feed over the internet.

The watchdog said that a hacker could even pan and tilt the cameras to monitor activity in the house.

SureCloud hacked the CloudPets stuffed toy, which allows family and friends to send messages to a child via Bluetooth and made it play its own voice messages.

Which? said it contacted the manufacturers of eight affected products to alert them to flaws as part of the investigation, with the majority updating their software and security. 

Faxes are still widely used in healthcare, banking, and law, sectors in which highly sensitive data is stored. 

In the U.S. medical sector, 75 percent of all communications are sent by fax.

To prevent organizations’ networks from becoming compromised, experts recommend that companies check if their fax machines can be updated, or place fax devices on a secure network that is separate from the networks that carry sensitive information.

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