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Scanners Can Be Hijacked to Perpetrate Cyberattacks

By American Associates, Ben-Gurion ­niversity of the Negev

March 29, 2017

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Researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have found a typical office scanner can be infiltrated and an organization's network compromised using different light sources.

The researchers demonstrated how to use a laser or smart bulb to establish a covert channel between an outside attacker and malware installed on a networked computer, according to BGU researcher Ben Nassi. He warns a scanner with the lid left open is sensitive to changes in the surrounding light and might be used as a backdoor into an organization's network.

The researchers demonstrated using direct laser light sources up to a half-mile away, as well as a drone outside the building, to successfully transmit a message to trigger malware through the scanner.

They recommend organizations connect a scanner to the network via a proxy server, which would prevent establishing a covert channel.

From American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
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