Black Hat: Embedded Web servers open printer, scanner security holes

It's fairly simple to find corporate or consumer printers and scanners online and, without breaking into them, get a hold of documents that these devices recently processed

It's fairly simple to find corporate or consumer printers and scanners online and, without breaking into them, get a hold of documents that these devices recently processed.

It can be done because "there are embedded Web servers that come in hardware devices," says Michael Sutton, vice president of security research at Zscaler Labs, who will present his research at next week's Black Hat Conference. The embedded Web servers in "photocopiers, printers and scanners are there for the purpose of ease of administration," but the functionality is not hardened, the devices are available directly through the Internet, and often they aren't password-protected, he says.

MORE ON SECURITY: The 5 biggest IT security mistakes

In his research, Sutton says he discovered he can easily find these printers, scanners and photocopiers, including those made by HP, Ricoh and Sharp, out on the Internet, and simply use the available features "to remotely retrieve anything recently photocopied, such as download a PDF copy of it."

He said he's able to find this equipment with its embedded Web servers through scripts he wrote to scan huge blocks of IP addresses to recognize certain tell-tale Web header fingerprints. "There's no breaking-in required," Sutton adds.

He says the reason he's highlighting the risks is because "I want enterprises and consumers to recognize that an embedded Web server is a Web server and you've got to shut off some features," adding, "it's like a public Web server." Features should not be enabled by default, nor used without password protection. But he notes many people probably are unaware these embedded Web servers are even there in these printers, photocopiers and scanners.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags peripheralsRicohsecuritysharpScanners

More about Hewlett-Packard AustraliaHPLANRicoh AustraliaSharp

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Ellen Messmer

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts