Online Faxes and Security
Security Problems with Traditional Faxes
Traditional fax machines, although they are valued for providing credible documents, do pose certain security issues within an office.
Firstly, if inbound documents are not collected as soon as they are received then this can pose a security risk, as anyone can see documents that they are not intended to see.
Secondly, if left unattended, documents can be removed, copied and returned without the intended sender realising.
Furthermore, physical documents have to be either destroyed or filed away securely, another potential security problem. Again, these documents could potentially be altered, signatures could be forged, and so forth.
All in all, physical faxes pose security risks that require time, effort and attentiveness to deal with.
The Security Advantages of Online Faxing
By contrast, online faxing does not create many of the major security problems associated with traditional faxing, as it does not create physical documents. Online faxing transmits documents only to the intended recipient, essentially creating a closed circuit of communication. In addition, you don’t have to worry about documents being left on a machine. With physical documents taken out of the loop, there are also no problems related to storage.
Despite this, online faxing must still receive the same commitment to security as any online function. For example, there are still dangers from hackers and criminals who wish to steal data. Therefore, online faxing packages have numerous security features built in.
- Online Storage: Internet faxing companies provide storage for your documents, which are housed on secure servers.
- Transmission Encryption: Most online faxing companies also incorporate some form of encryption into the storage and transmission of your data, to ensure that it travels securely to its destination.
- Online Transmission: Many companies also enable you to send digital faxes via a portal. These tend to use SSL technology and encrypted browser sessions to produce an environment which is totally secure.
Social Engineering Attack via Online Fax
Despite the best efforts of online faxing companies to provide a completely secure environment, the fact remains that if there is an incentive to steal information, then hackers will go to great lengths in order to do so.
One of the means that Interent faxing can be subjected to such attacks is through a method referred to as a ‘social engineering attack’. This generally involves inducing an individual to reveal information by sending fraudulent emails, often ironically warning of a security breach. Thus, it is important not to reveal passwords, login IDs, or any other sensitive information unless you absolutely, definitely know the source. If you do not then simply don’t give out any information, as no security features will protect you against this.
Another type of identity theft attack is ‘phaxing’, similar to ‘phishing’, whereby the would-be hacker will send an email which has the appearance of an official document to the target, requesting personal and banking data, for example.
However, despite these attempts to overcome security, it must be emphasised that overall online faxing provides a very safe and secure environment, providing that you and your staff exercise due diligence.