Last month, the Computer Security Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a draft publication titled “Risk Management for Replication Devices” (Draft NISTIR 8023). The full draft publication is here (with an excellent security risk assessment table and flowchart at the end).  The draft is of particular interest to individuals who are responsible for the purchase, installation, configuration, maintenance, disposition, and security of replication devices (RDs), including acquisitions; system administration; information system and security control assessment and monitoring; and information security implementation and operations.

Here is a summary of the key provisions of the draft:

  • RDs include copiers, printers, three-dimensional (3D) printers, scanners, 3D scanners, and multifunction machines when used as a copier, printer, or scanner. Even today, many organizations may not have an accurate inventory of RDs or recognize what functionality each device possesses, especially with respect to information (data) storage, processing, and transmission. This publication provides guidance on protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information processed, stored, or transmitted on RDs.  RDs are often connected to organizational networks, have central processing units that run common commercial operating systems, store information internally on nonvolatile storage media, and may even have internal servers or routers.
  • The publication advises that before placing RDs into operation, configure each RD securely and implement appropriate security controls. There are numerous secure installation and configuration practices to consider and implement. Each device may have unique capabilities and security options.

Some practices to consider (with associated NIST SP 800-53 security controls in parentheses) include:

  • Disable unused physical and network ports (CM-7).
    • Implement physical security, e.g., locks (PE-3).
    • Whitelist/blacklist specific MAC addresses, IP addresses/address ranges, or email addresses (AC-18, SC-7). 
  • Disable unused physical and network ports (CM-7).
    • Implement physical security, e.g., locks (PE-3).
    • Whitelist/blacklist specific MAC addresses, IP addresses/address ranges, or email addresses (AC-18, SC-7).
  • Configure image overwrite capability.
    • Enable immediate image overwrite (MP-6).
    • Schedule regular off-hours overwrite with three-pass minimum (MP-6).

As for disposal of the RDs, sanitize RDs when they are no longer needed by an organization or will be repurposed or stored by doing the following (with associated NIST SP 800-53 security controls in parentheses):

  • Wipe/purge or destroy nonvolatile storage media (MP-6).
  • Change or reset passwords and other authentication information, e.g., user pins (IA-5).
  • Reset configurations to factory default settings (CM-6).

Organizations are encouraged to review the draft publication during the public comment period and to provide feedback to NIST no later than Oct. 17. Email comments to sec-cert@nist.gov, or mail the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Attn: Computer Security Division, Information Technology Laboratory, 100 Bureau Drive (Mail Stop 8930), Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8930.