MFD Vulnerabilities

A recent post describing some nasty vulnerabilities in HP multifunction devices (MFDs) brings back memories of a presentation Micele and I gave at Troopers11 on MFD security. The published vulnerabilities are highly relevant  (such as unauthenticated retrieval of administrative credentials) and reminded me of some of the basic recommendations we gave. MFD vulnerabilities are regularly discovered, and it is often basic stuff such as hardcoded $SECRET_INFORMATION (don’t get me wrong here, I fully appreciate the quality of the published research, but it is just surprising — let’s go with this attribute 😉 — that those types of vulnerabilities still occur that often). Yet many environments do not patch their MFDs or implement other controls. As it is not an option to not use MFDs (they are already present in pretty much every environment, and the vast majority of vendors periodically suffer from vulnerabilities), let’s recall some of our recommendations as those would have mitigated the risk resulting from the published vulnerability:

  • Isolation & Filtering: Think about a dedicated MFD segment, where only ports required for printing are allowed incoming. I suppose 80/8080 would not have been in that list.
  • Patching: Yes, also MFDs need to be patched. Sounds trivial, yet it does not happen in many environments.

One recommendation we did not come up with initially are dedicated VIP MFDs, but this is something we have actually observed in the interim. As the MFDs process a good part of the information in your environment — hence also sensitive information — some environments have dedicated VIP MFDs, which are only used by/exposed to board members or the like. (As a side note, many MFDs also save all print jobs on the internal hard drive and do not retrieve them in a secure way. For example, we also mentioned in our presentation that the main MFD once used in our office kept copies of everything ever printed/scanned/faxed on it)

Referring to some other posts: We told ya 😉

Have a good one,


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A Wrap-up on MFD Security

On last year’s TROOPERS11, Matthias (mluft) and I gave a talk on Multifunction Devices. Hardly surprising: It was related to the state of secure operation of MFDs. It was heavily motivated by experiences we collected out in the wild. We faced a frightening low level of awareness concerning the role of MFDs for the overall security picture – in particular regarding the processing of sensitive data…

However, instead of only showing and proving well-known weaknesses and vulnerabilities, we decided to adapt ERNW’s Seven Sisters model in order to match the needs of secure MFD operation and to develop some kind of guideline. As Matthias already lost some words on this, I’m not gonna waste your valuable time by repeating, what has already been said. However I described our approach and our thoughts on that topic in a recently published ERNW Newsletter. If for what ever reason you didn’t see our talk or even didn’t attend TROOPERS11 at all, have a look on Newsletter 37 and give us feedback on what you think about the whole topic…

Btw: Enno just wrote some lines about what’s so special about the TROOPERS conference. In case you might want to discuss mentioned and related topics at first hand, think about joining TROOPERS12. For our part, we cannot wait to come together at Heidelberg next March.

See you there
Michael alias Micele

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Sisters’ Act of MFD Security

Recently Micele and I were researching for our talk about the current state of security of Multifunction Devices (MFDs). Since we’re both seasoned pentesters who are quite familar with MFDs, we were really surprised that very little new research is going on on the topic of MFD security. While diving deeper into the topic, we found a very simple explanation for this: As in 2002, it is still possible to download print or scan jobs using PJL, many devices still offer default FTP or Telnet access, and, of course, stored files can be recovered from MFD hard drives — on an enterprise wide scale. To even strengthen our impression of the current state of MFD security, most devices crashed or did go wild while performing some scans — and we do not talk about fuzzing here.

This devastating result lead to the question how MFDs can be secured. Since there are a lot of MFD hardening resources out there, even from vendors, we decided to put together a comprehensive hardening guide for MFDs. To raise the level of awareness, we put together a lot of examples on attacks on MFDs and then focused on the development of our own MFD security guide which is based on the seven sisters. The result of this approach can be found here. And of course, soon there will be a ERNW newsletter to cover this topic in a more academic and structured way 😉

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