Fax Hacking


When was the last time you faxed anything? Has it been a while? The advent of email and other online messaging tools has made older technologies obsolete. That, however, does not mean that fax machines don’t get used these days. Faxing is popular among specific business organizations, including hospitals, lawyers, banks, real estate firms, and other businesses, with more than 300 million fax numbers and 45 million fax machines globally. Often, these businesses require actual signatures between multiple parties in different locations.
Many businesses these days have all-in-one devices, including a printer, photocopier, scanner, and in some cases, a fax machine. These multifunctional devices referred to as MFPs, are often connected to a business’s internal network – which might open them up to potential security problems. If still in use, a stand-alone fax machine might also be connected to a phone line where there is no security firewall.l.

The Hack

Protocols that govern fax security were put together in the 1980s and have not changed. Understandably, they could not envision the issues that face today’s technology. There are no security measures available for all intents and purposes when it comes to faxing.

It might sound surprising, but your fax number might be all a hacker needs to gain complete control over the printer and possibly infiltrate the rest of the network connected to it. A reasonably talented hacker can send an innocent-looking image file via fax (and remember that faxes are just image files). These image files can be coded with malware, including ransomware, malware, or surveillance tools, depending upon their targets of interest and motives, which often include exploiting vulnerabilities and seizing control of an enterprise or home network.

Fax technology began as an analog, but it’s now primarily digital. And just like every other digital technology, there is the potential for hacking.

Guarding against the Fax Hack

1) Find out how many networked fax devices and similar networked IoT devices are currently running in your business environment.

2) Determine which of the devices connect to outside phone lines. Disconnect the phone line if they’re connected, but the fax feature isn’t used.

Contact us today to learn about our managed print and managed network services for more information on securing your faxing devices.


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