Study proves that Desktop scanners are vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

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Researchers from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of Science have found out a way to make office scanners as source points to launch cyber attacks. To make it possible, they are using a laser or smart bulb light to establish a covert channel between an outside attacker and malware installed on a networked computer which then can be used as a backdoor into a computer network.

The study used direct laser sources up to half a mile away to transmit messages into computers connected to a flatbed scanner. The researchers achieved success in sending messages to trigger malware through the scanner.

For those who are concerned about this vulnerability, researchers are recommending a solution, where you can connect a scanner to a network through a proxy server or a computer which acts as an intermediary. This helps in preventing the establishment of a covert channel, but limits printing and faxing remotely on all-in-one devices.

The study was conducted to increase awareness to the threat and result in secured protocols for scanning that prevent an attacker from establishing such a covert channel through an external light source, smart bulb, TV or other devices related to Internet of Things (IoT).

As the concerns related to cyber security are evolving at an alarming rate, awareness plays a vital role in educating the public on what they should do and not in various technological scenarios.

Cyber Security is one such field where prevention of Cyber Attacks with the help of a proactive approach becomes essential; rather than reacting to the attacks.

Let’s hope, that the said study helps in educating the CIOs and CTOs of enterprise networks to isolate their scanning devices from cyber crooks.

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Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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