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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Stuxnet? Night Drag0n? Nope,You Got Pwned by a Printer.

Posted September 6, 2011    Mike Puterbaugh

At the recent BlackHat and DefCon conferences, our annual eEye Research Team T-shirt was one of the more memorable ones we’d done in a while (and if you remember 2005, that’s saying something). In keeping with the theme of Security in Context, the shirt parodied the fear that attacks like Stuxnet, NightDragon and Operation Aurora had put into many attendees’ minds, when in reality you were more likely to end up getting hacked by a caricature of Mr. Peanut.


I can think of literally hundreds of examples where security pros would be better off focusing on the fundamentals of their vulnerability management strategy  rather than throwing all of their resources at the most recent “attack du jour.”
A perfect case in point – at this year’s DefCon Conference, security researcher Deral Heiland showed off some interesting attack scenarios targeting multi-function printers. No – not the printer! Just when you thought that PC Load Letter was your biggest problem at the print station. Nope, it’s fairly easy for these ubiquitous office products to now be accessed by a remote attacker – pulling down digital images of everything you’ve printed, scanned or faxed from the device.

That means contracts, purchase orders, new customer invoices, medical records … (you get the point) are up for grabs. I’ll sit right here and wait as you run and rip your printer off your network. <sips coffee>  Actually, that wasn’t necessary.  What is necessary is ensuring that every connected device (workstations, servers, mobile devices, virtual devices and apps, etc.) are part of your regularly scheduled vulnerability management process. Our Retina family of products has always included (and will continue to include) audits for non-end user devices like routers, switches and yes, even printers.

Why? Your network is only as secure as its weakest device. You have to keep these things in context.   Our compliments to Deral for his research and presentation.

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