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Printer Security

Printers Vulnerable To Security Threats 173

Posted by kdawson
from the infected-my-what? dept.
jcatcw writes "Networked printers are more vulnerable to attack than many organizations realize. Symantec has logged vulnerabilities in five brands of network printers. Printers outside firewalls, for ease of remote printing, may also be open to easy remote code execution. They can be possible launching pads for attacks on the rest of the network. Disabling services that aren't needed and keeping up with patches are first steps to securing them." From the article: "Security experts say that printers are loaded with more complex applications than ever, running every vulnerable service imaginable, with little or no risk management or oversight.... [N]etworked printers need to be treated like servers or workstations for security purposes — not like dumb peripherals."
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Printers Vulnerable To Security Threats

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  • Try it out (Score:5, Interesting)

    by delirium of disorder (701392) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:22AM (#17664730) Homepage Journal
    Over the past several years, if you did a random port scan of the Internet (nmap -iR) the majority of open telnet (tcp port 23) servers were print servers that let you telnet in and change all sorts of settings.
    • Re:Try it out (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Monkey (795756) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:29AM (#17664856)
      What most people don't get is that that cute, slim-line print kit that they slid in the back of there copy machine is, in fact, made out of lap top parts and running DOS. Any multifunction print system is a computer with a printer & scanner attached, and should be treated thusly.
      • Re:Try it out (Score:4, Interesting)

        by advocate_one (662832) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:49AM (#17665152)
        More likely a stripped down Linux... I assisted a service agent a couple of years ago and the fancy photocopier, scanner, faxer, emailer (it could scan and send the scans as emails... very useful) beast showed a Linux boot up sequence while booting into safe mode (he knew the secret jumper to set for this mode)... Also, my HP PSC1350 is running Linux, I know this because when I was installing Debian on my computer a few months ago, I had the printer connected and powered up and the Debian installer wanted to know if I wanted to install debian onto the ext2 partition it had found on the printer (connected via USB). I was rather surprised and thankfully I hadn't blindly accepted it.
        • The whole reason he went into open source movement is because some printer was running proprietary software that he couldn't fix. At least now anyone can download source code from HP website and modify the way your printer works in any way they want.
        • I have not played with a print controller in a while. The last time I was working with one was about two years ago, back then a brand new Konica ran MS-DOS.

          Knowing that they are now Linux is a good bit of information.

        • by MyHair (589485)
          Ricoh Aficio copier/printers use NetBSD. I had some Laniers that were rebranded Ricohs. I never tried to hack it, and there was no obvious way to drop into a unix shell, but somewhere in the documentation or in the interface it indicated it was NetBSD.
      • I understand they are MIPS embedded-type deals with specially designed firmware (TCP fingerprinting indicates that at least the network stack isn't derived from any public RT OS sources... so I'm guessing it's an HP original)
    • The sad thing is that many haven't got an admin password configured. And then thse things have u-webservers built-in. Dunno if anyone's made a useful hack of the web-end on these printers but it's possible.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mister Whirly (964219)
        If I find an open printer with out an admin password set, I generally will go in and keep changing the language to Portuguese or German on the control panel. It is mostly harmless, and points out the fact that someone can go in and easily change their settings. Some control panels even let you display a custom message. On those I have it read "CHANGE YOUR ADMIN PASSWORD NOW!" or "I AM NOT SECURE!"
    • I really don't get this-- why? Why would you put your printer outside your firewall? So you can print from the internet? What's the point?

      • Re:Try it out (Score:4, Insightful)

        by soft_guy (534437) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:28PM (#17665918)

        I really don't get this-- why? Why would you put your printer outside your firewall? So you can print from the internet? What's the point?

        The point is that these printers aren't being configured this way on purpose - people plug them and and dick with them randomly until they get a document to physically come out of the printer. Then they walk away from it and never think about it again until it runs out of toner.
      • Some companies (especially smaller ones) do this because they want one of their workers to be able to print things on the office printer from their home office or some other place. They don't want to drop the money on getting a vpn set up, so they just put the printer out there and trust that nobody else can print to it (or don't know that someone else can).

        I know it sounds strange to us, but it does happen.
        • I have a fairly modest (domestic) wired router with 8 ports (which cost £150 about 5 years ago). It has VPN. Why would any business have equipment which DIDN'T do VPN today?
          • by Agripa (139780)
            I have a few small VPN routers myself for just these sorts of applications. I suspect it is not the price of an adequate VPN router but the inconvenience and addition time needed to make such a solution work.
      • by pclminion (145572)

        I really don't get this-- why? Why would you put your printer outside your firewall? So you can print from the internet? What's the point?

        Security is the point. A printer is a firmware-driven device. I only have a limited degree of control over its security. I cannot upgrade the software if there is a bug. I'm basically at the mercy of the manufacturer. Why would I want to place such a questionable device inside my firewall? I want to PROTECT my network from it, not stick the fox in the hen house.

        • That might explain why you might want to place it behind some sort of firewall, but not why you'd want to put it live on the internet. Anyway, the security risk of a printer placed on an otherwise secure network doesn't sound sufficiently scary. If someone has access to your printer over the network, then they already have network access, which means they could put a device of their own design on the network. What additional risk is really posed by a printer?

    • Why make printers so "smart" to begin with? Used to be, a man was a man and a printer was a printer. It did what its master told it. The things had just enough internal logic to interpret the voltage differences on the RS232 pins, and maybe a few K of RAM (hah!) to buffer the jobs.

      Now they have minds of their own. *Grumble* visions of departmental HP printers that never seemed to be configured properly, always displaying bizarre diagnostic messages
      Even a $150 Brother all-in-one machine at the office is
      • by tylernt (581794)

        Why make printers so "smart" to begin with

        I think your average SOHO and consumer-grade printer isn't too smart. But enterprise-class MFPs are smart because:

        * Having a RTOS onboard means the MFP maker can use common development and debugging tools instead of spending time writing their own
        * It's easier and cheaper for the MFP maker to hire firmware developers for an RTOS platform than EEs who can program PICs
        * It's cheaper and easier for the maker to design or even integrate off-the-shelf MIPS or x86 PCBs an

  • by BMonger (68213) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:24AM (#17664752)
    Dwight:

    At 8 AM today, someone poisons the coffee. Do NOT drink the coffee. More instructions will follow.

    Cordially, Future Dwight.
    • by freeweed (309734)
      But obviously Dwight never drank the coffee in the first place, or Future Dwight wouldn't have been able to send the warning.

      Arrrrgh! Time travel paradoxes suck.
  • Identifying viruses (Score:3, Informative)

    by Calinous (985536) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:24AM (#17664756)
    One of my colleague told me about a printer that started printing page after page of funny characters. It seems there was a virus in the network, trying to write himself on all shares - of which the printer had one.
          How much is able one of those printers to do? Printers dedicated to big offices have a pretty powerful processor, lots of RAM, hard drive. Taking control of such a printer could be just as useful for a black-hat cracker as taking control of a computer there, with the bonus that printers aren't usual suspects for infections
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by chunews (924590)
      In my experience, that virus - printing page after page of funny characters - is a human one, from someone trying to print a PCL formatted file to a PostScript printer or vice versa.
      • by Calinous (985536)
        It was a printer in a Windows network - and the network was inside a trash truck, street cleaning company. And when the computers with the virus were taken off network, the printing stopped
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ajs318 (655362)
        Or from switching on the printer after the instruction to enter graphics mode has been sent ..... resulting in the bitmaps which would make up the graphics being treated as ASCII codes, and printed in the printer's native font.

        But no; I have seen a printer chuck out pages of junk, starting with "This program requires Microsoft Windows" or something, and it was due to an infected Windows machine trying to copy the virus to every SMB share it could see. Including the printer (which was on a SAMBA share).
      • by pclminion (145572)

        In my experience, that virus - printing page after page of funny characters - is a human one, from someone trying to print a PCL formatted file to a PostScript printer or vice versa.

        A pure PostScript printer will fail to print anything if given raw PCL. If the PCL is prepended with a PJL job description header and the printer comprehends PJL, it will simply stop with an "Unsupported language" error. Most printers which support both PCL and PostScript will assume PCL as the language if no PJL UEL sequenc

        • by dgatwood (11270)

          In my experience, most postscript printers will also print raw text (at least if you send it via LPR). If it detects headers that indicate the content encoding (and if it understands those headers), it will interpret the content as you describe. However, if it gets something at the start that could plausibly be interpreted as plain ASCII text, it will just shove the data straight out to the printer. Thus, it would not be at all surprising for a raw binary format to be printed as garbage unless the printe

          • by pclminion (145572)

            In my experience, most postscript printers will also print raw text (at least if you send it via LPR). If it detects headers that indicate the content encoding (and if it understands those headers), it will interpret the content as you describe.

            This works because many PostScript printers are also PCL printers. Raw text is valid PCL, and the printer default language is usually PCL (although you can set it on the front panel in most cases), so it prints.

            Like I said, many UNIX lpr spoolers will try to in

  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:24AM (#17664758) Journal
    ...print out pictures of Viagra?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Calinous (985536)
      Taking a snapshot of everything that is printed, and mail it to an interesting party?
      Altering what is printed? Change amounts on printed spreadsheets, change destination for item transfers, and other "creative uses"
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Ok, this is scary.

        One of the first attacks done by security consultants is the printer. From there you can get into the network.

        The fact that people here don't seem to relize this is just disconscerting.

        • by Macthorpe (960048)
          Or maybe I did realise it, and accidentally told a joke instead of making a serious comment (ohnoes).

          I would say that it won't happen again, but I'm sure it will.
      • by tbuskey (135499)
        Alter the figures printed on checks?
        Print an extra check that the envelope stuffer blindly puts in an envelope?

        Or anything else you can do with an exploited computer inside a network.
        Most printers have pretty decent CPU in them (how do they do 20ppm?) with good network connectivity. Imagine what a compromised linksys router can do. Now add more CPU, more RAM and better I/O.

        Heck, going back to '93 with the Apple LaserWriter. It probably had a faster CPU and more RAM then the Macs it was serving.

        They're al
        • by Calinous (985536)
          Faster CPU, more RAM and a hard drive (in big devices).
            The possibilities seem infinite
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      or perhaps just AOL fliers.

      Oh wait, they don't need that. They even send CDs home!

      Well, if they can jam the printers and print stock values... that might be as well annoying.
  • Double duh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Printers have been network servers for a long time now. I have a 1995 vintage networked laser from Digital Equipment Corporation (rest in pieces) and its manual tells the exact procedure to get to the command line, by using a default password and telnt. Yes, this printer has a unix-like command line interface for configuring its print server functions, and anyone who knows the IP address and the password can get in. Needless to say I've been careful to keep the printer behind my firewall box.
  • Happened before (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CapitalT (987101)
    Anyone remember the story about the guy who wrote a "visual basic" virus to send the O RLY owl to all printers in the company?

    Maybe we'll see a lot of these coming, it'll be fun *hee hee hee* {devilish laugh}. I don't have a printer }:-]
  • Jamming (Score:5, Funny)

    by vjmurphy (190266) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:26AM (#17664790) Homepage
    Even worse, such attacks may jam the printers, making it impossible to print out important Dilbert cartoons.
  • by NoseyNick (19946) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:26AM (#17664800) Homepage
    Was years ago I hacked my employer's printer to say: "Insert Coin" instead of "Ready" and "Feed Me" instead of "Paper tray empty" ... and I know I could have done a lot worse.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It seems like an innocent trick, but I once cost a company thousands. They had one printer that was cleared by the NSA for printing classified documents -- it didn't store the things it printed in RAM, or it had some approved method of obfuscating its RAM, or some shit.

      I started dicking around with the PCL "ready" message, and they realized that it COULD store data -- in the "ready" message.

      New printer, ahoy!
    • Instead of "Job Completed" could have set it a random message like "Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?"
  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:27AM (#17664806)
    You don't want to become a victim of printer hacking. A malicious printer hacker could print out sheet music of copyrighted songs, stills from copyrighted movies, or child pornograhpy - leaving you a target of litigaton from the *AA or worse. Not to mention all the juvenile pranks like printing all your valuable company memos in l33t speak.

    Protect your printers today!

    I wonder when Symantec will release their first security software suite for printers...
    • by bcmm (768152)
      They were talking more about reprogramming the printer to do scans from the inside than jMCSE ust sending malicious print jobs, I think.

      But a 1337 filter for legitimate printing jobs would be brilliant. Imagine some poor technician trying to diagnose that...
    • Given my past experience with the high quality of Symantec products we'll be switching to clay tablets and cuneiform.

      In the long run, it will be easier and more cost effective.
      • by krakelohm (830589)
        I am chiseling out a response in granite, will send to you shortly.

        ...Anyone got any stamps?
  • Campus Printers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cpearson (809811) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:30AM (#17664868) Homepage
    On many if not most college campuses the printers are administered and accounted for my a system tied to a student id. Each student can get so many free prints per semester and can pay per print after exceeding that. Malicious code executing on a print server could sniff all the student accounts accessing the printer.

    http://www.vistahelpforum.com/ [vistahelpforum.com]
    • by pla (258480)
      On many if not most college campuses the printers are administered and accounted for my a system tied to a student id.

      Yeah, I've seen that done before - It entirely depends on students printing via locked-down (usually Windows) print servers.

      Just note the printer model, download the driver, and install the printer directly on your laptop. Bam, free and unlimited printing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Yeah, I've seen that done before - It entirely depends on students printing via locked-down (usually Windows) print servers. Just note the printer model, download the driver, and install the printer directly on your laptop. Bam, free and unlimited printing.

        The people at some schools are not idiots and can prevent you from doing this. Some printers actually have access controls, although people seldom bother to use them. Set an admin password, and disallow network printing from any but the print server

        • by jimicus (737525)
          We had a similar thing at Uni. The printers were free but were nailed to double-sided, economy mode.

          Fortunately, the admins were nice enough to leave it setup so that it respected the lp -o raw command. Produce a postscript file of your printout and send it straight there, comes out exactly as you intended.
      • by profplump (309017)
        First, an almost trivial change supported by many if not most printers is to allow print jobs only from a certain host or set of hosts. HP's JetDirect cards can even read that list of hosts from a DHCP parameter, so you don't have to update all your printers if the queue changes.

        Since this is only an IP-based security solution it can be overcome, but it's not as trivial as plugging your computer into the network and installing the print drivers, at least not if the network is reasonably secured in the first
  • by darkmeridian (119044) <william...chuang@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:30AM (#17664884) Homepage
    Laugh if you want, but this was what happened to Iraq on the eve of the Gulf War. A modified printer was put onto their defense computer network by an Allied operative. Right when the air war started, the bug fired up and brought down the network. Just because a threat sounds outlandish does not mean it isn't a real threat.

    (The story was recounted in The Generals' War.)
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:31AM (#17664904) Homepage Journal
    Not exactly the same scenario, but I think this comment [slashdot.org] by stuffman64 [slashdot.org] deserves an honorary mention here:

    Last year in my apartment, I had a very loud, rowdy group of girls living above me. Basically, they would get all drunk and mean, and any attempt to ask them to politely stop stomping on the floor or whatever they do at 3AM was met with flase promises (5 minutes later they'd be at it again). Even my mack-daddy roommate couldn't seduce them in hopes of somehow convicing them to stop being so damn loud. This kid could pick up any girl he wanted, but we surmised from all the romping and giggling that perhaps they were more interested in eachother when they got so drunk (backed up by the fact that they always came to the door in robes and/or towels).

    We tried to figure out a good way to get back at them. We could report them to the main office, but it's kinda a douchebag thing to do as in enails a $100 per person, not to mention that the apartment complex's owners were also douchebags and didn't deserve any more money from anyone. I'd known for a while that they had an unprotected wireless network, and all of their computers had file and print sharing enabled (not to mention that one of them appropriately named their computer "BITCHFACE"). I "stumbled upon" an ebook copy of War and Peace and decided to start printing it on all of their printers one day when I assumed they'd be at class. One of the girls (I assume the one who drives a Mercedes she must have got for graduation) had an HP Laserjet 5 (how the hell she had room for it in the apartment is beyond me), so there is a good chance I got off at least a few hundred pages before it ran out of paper. I'd assume they didn't know how or why it happened, but afterwards, any time they would be loud I'd start printing a bunch of pages of non-acronymized "STFU" pages. They eventually came down on time and told me that if we didn't stop printing, they'd tell the office. Once I reminded them that we could go down to the office to report noise violations @ $100 per person per violation (not to mention possible eviction after the 3rd violation) any time we heard any noise from them, they quickly realized we had the upper hand. After that, we didn't have any more problems with them, and actually started getting along with eachother.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If there was a Penthouse for nerds, this could be the start of a great story.
      • "If there was a Penthouse for nerds, this could be the start of a great story"

        Nerds are considered the primary audience. Penthouse IS for nerds, in a very direct way.

        Somebody who actually gets laid on occasion is more likely to read Playboy (and the articles, for real).
  • I figure it's safer to assume that anything connected to the network could be an attack point. If you have a network toy like some light-up furby that connects to the network and changes color based on packet throughput, that thing probably has no security whatsoever on it (even assuming it has embedded linux or something).
  • Is this the cure for Freudian "printer envy"? It must be terrible when your printer feels vulnerable...
  • How FUDtastic!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Symantec is really grasping at straws here. In the age of internet security, why anyone would put a printer outside the firewall is too far beyond me to comprehend. Any firewall admin should be able to put rules in place for remote printing. And for that matter, why does any one need to remotely print? Anybody heard of email? Ol' deskjet at home too slow? Users in the office too lazy? Too many pebcak errors? Remote printing may be the most worthless of the worthless network setups. Also, why are people not
    • Actually it is not necessary to have printers accessible from the outside, a clever hacker could craft a postcript page (this of course implies a postscript program) that
      programs a printer to "do something nasty".

      And the send the page as a "postcard", with "printit instruction" (for instance the visible part could be instructions on how to do an origami marylin monroe, or a cute valentin themed cupid/aeroplane) anything sufficiently "cute" would be printed by somebody eventually.

      At wich time a whole class o
    • I just got done working the North American International Auto Show, on one of the video production stages. One of the things we were forced to purchase from Cobo Hall was "Internet Service". Turns out they handed us our own dedicated T1 with 15 public IP addresses. I figured it out once I realized DHCP didn't work and found the paperwork to manually configure IP addresses.

      Regardless, they gave us a network Printer/Fax/Copier. Guess what? It had one of the public IP addresses! I guess it was easier whe
    • by pclminion (145572)

      Symantec is really grasping at straws here. In the age of internet security, why anyone would put a printer outside the firewall is too far beyond me to comprehend.

      It is? Weird. To me, a printer is a device I cannot trust. I don't have the source code to the software, I have only limited control over what it does. Why should I put an untrusted device like that INSIDE my firewall? Are you absolutely insane?

  • Imagine those companies that sell expensive toner and ink cartridges pairing up with someone to write some malicious code to burn through your printing supplies faster.

    It won't be long before you hear about something like the "Page_Blackout" or "Toner_Drain" worm.

    • Something similar has already happened I think although not intentionally. Some viruses in their attempt to spread themselves would send a bunch of junk out, and if a printer was on the other side then it would start spewing out garbage. I've also seen nmap scans lock up print servers / printers as well - sometimes with a line or two of stuff printed off.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:38AM (#17665026) Homepage Journal
    "Printers worldwide slammed with requests to print the goatse man"
  • I find, use and patch somes problems with [ancester of] theses printers from 1998. I have to run some tests for the Y2K projet in that time, and we so much open telnet attack that can be made from printer, we design some specials firewall and network rules at that time.
  • and this is news to you, please get out of the business.

  • Isn't this what is called a fax machine?
  • firewall (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bfields (66644) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:52AM (#17665218) Homepage
    Printers outside firewalls, for ease of remote printing, may also be open to easy remote code execution.

    Unlike, of course, printers behind firewalls, which are not at all open to remote code execution, since there's no chance that anything attached to the firewalled network will ever be hacked. Ah, the magic of the firewall.

  • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:56AM (#17665296) Homepage Journal
    In security we balance likelihood of attack, likely damage, and cost to mitigate the threat. The cost to mitigate includes labor, time, materials, and increased difficulty to use (or decreased availability of) the asset. For printers there are at least two such areas of concern (people model them as vectors or attack trees, variously).
    1. telnetting in
      1. For a base of operations
      2. As an aid in information gathering
    2. Denial of service
      1. Printing garbage as an annoyance
      2. Causing apparent hardware failure, distracting service personnel from real attacks
      3. Damaging the device with invalid NVRAM
    3. Loss of integrity: modify interpreter to change printing behavior in some mission-sensitive way.
    For example, you could display "028*: Radon Discharge Hazard" or some other nonsense trouble symptoms at random intervals on the control panel. The techs in charge would then have to deal with that problem, while you attack their database server or other target. With a modified Postscript interpreter, you could insert random words or even carefully selected phrases in documents as they printed, using the same font that the document prints. How often do people proofread the text of a document they just proofread on screen? Only if they printed it to proofread it, and even then they might not notice. Also, printers in network environments often have file storage space, which makes them a target both to corrupt, if their storage is used in production. If the area is not used in production, it can be used by a rogue to hide things, since typically no one looks at that storage area if it's not in production.
  • People print sensitive documents to networked printers all the time. You just hang around the printer with your coffee waiting for 'your' job and either clear up the un-collected jobs that are always lying around, or grab stuff as it comes off the printer. The owner will always re-submit the job without a second thought.
    • I hope people aren't still doing this today. Most modern devices come with some form of secure printing. It may be a password protected "mailbox", or a one time pin for a document, but the feature is there. If used correctly, you could print your job, it would be stored on the hard drive, and stay until the drive died, or a service tech had to wipe the jobs. If the device stores jobs in RAM, it would be available until the power was cycled.

      Of course, your print job is only as secure as your passcode. The h

  • ... but it's the only place I can install a UT3 server at work and not have the sysadmins find it.

    Happy fragging,

    -BA

  • Display "PC LOAD LETTER" on the printer. It'll be offline shortly thereafter.
  • by nuckfuts (690967) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:41PM (#17666148)

    FX of Phenoelit gave an amazing talk on this at CanSecWest/core03 back in 2003 that outlined how to turn a JetDirect printer into a webserver, fileserver or even a port scanner! We all had a huge chuckle at the thought of someone tracking down a port scanner on the network only to find it was coming from an HP printer.

    The entire presentation is still available online in both PDF [cansecwest.com] and PPT [cansecwest.com] format.

    The tools used to hack the printers are available here [phenoelit.de].

  • The main network printer for my workgroup is the copier down the hall. Copiers can increasingly be used for espionage. This is actually nothing new, the CIA had Xerox outfit copiers in the Soviet Embassy with cameras [interesting-people.org] to photograph the documents being copied.

    Nowadays, many copiers don't use traditional xerography [wikipedia.org], but are just fast scanners with printers attached. The network copier/printer down the hall can be used as a document scanner, and even spits out PDFs with searchable text. I don't think it
  • by howlinmonkey (548055) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @01:34PM (#17667182)

    I work in the networked printer/multifunction industry. While HP is popular on desktops, other brands are gaining, and rule in the 50ppm+ arena. These devices come from other vendors like Canon, Sharp, Kyocera and Xerox. These multifunction devices provide scan, fax and print services and run a variety of OS's from VxWorks to Solaris. Yes Johnny, that means Windows XP embedded as well. Although I have to say, I haven't seen a DOS based controller in about 6 years.

    We routinely receive questions about security, and help patch and configure these boxes to meet network security requirements as closely as possible. Unfortunately, we have limited access to the core OS, so we go as far as we can and workaround the rest. Many vendors, especially those using Windows, provide controller patches with security fixes included. EFI [efi.com] even allows an admin to RDP in and use Windows Update to keep current

    These devices aren't perfect, but they have come a long way. That being said, if you haven't heard about this in the past, you have no business being in charge of network security. Multifunction devices today are just as powerful as your desktops and servers, running the same software. Admin control is limited, and vulnerabilities are a reality - note the recent Xerox vulnerability [xerox.com]

    I would say it is important to stay in contact with your local vendor/dealer to stay on top of these issues. We work with these products everyday, and receive regular notices about security issues and solutions, not to mention a wide variety of other product data. We are a resource, just like any other outside consultant, to help you get and stay secure.

  • Shameless self promotion:
    http://csrc.nist.gov/nissc/2000/proceedings/papers /034.pdf [nist.gov]

    Penetration Analysis of a XEROX Docucenter DC 230ST:. Assessing the Security of a Multi-purpose Office Machine.

    Basically, there were many physical and network vulnerabilities that were of concern without even getting to a remote code execution problem.

    Enjoy!
  • This could go far beyond simple security threats. Most of us have probably seen all the fax spam clogging up paper trays in offices everywhere. Imagine what the spammers could do with a vulnerability like this.

    All of the sudden all of your documents are printing out with a new footer on every page. It'd be fscking priceless when the Human Resources girl prints out and distributes to everyone their updated copies of the company's sexual harrassment policy containing an ad asking me if I wanted to enlar

  • There was a paper published about this years ago. The title of the paper is: Penetration Analysis of a XEROX Docucenter DC 230ST: Assessing the Security of a Multi-purpose Office Machine. link [nist.gov] PDF Warning
  • There is code out there for running java based proxy servers on some networked printers, allowing you to gain further access into the network.
  • to have every printer behind a dedicated Linux LPRng/CUPS server.

  • by Greyfox (87712)
    I always wanted to write a PostScript virus that would propagate from printer to printer and whose only other effect would be to replace every instance of the word "strategic" printed to the word "satanic". Never could figure out how to open a network port in PostScript though. You can use network ports in GhostScript but you have to open them with some other language and pass the file handle to GhostScript.
  • there usually isn't any security (or very little at all)

    i worked as a tester for the embedded OS group at a printer maker and you can do almost anything if you know what ports to connect to, etc. pretty fun stuff. they have a funnly functional shell, piping, redirects, and everything.

    jason

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