Home > Data Loss, PHI, PII > Copiers give up secrets…

Copiers give up secrets…

This interesting report by CBSNews highlights the problem of not paying attention to how data leaks occur. CBS News worked with a small company who specialize in Digital Copier Security to show how easy it was to obtain sensitive data.

By simply going to a used copier supplier and buying 4 random machines at a cost of around $300 each (without knowing who their previous owners were), they were, within an hour able to retrieve thousands of page prints of sensitive data including:

  • Health records from an insurance company including blood tests, cancer diagnosis and prescriptions
  • Financial information, pay stubs, checks, social security numbers
  • Sensitive police reports on sex offenses and battery from an ex-police department machine

All, obviously breaches of PII and PHI regulations.

Though copier manufacturers have software to erase the data stored on machines, it’s rarely activated by default, and often costs extra, for example in the case of Sharp copies, a $500 premium.

The final footnote from CBS News reporter Armen Keteyian is particularly worrying:

The day we visited the New Jersey warehouse, two shipping containers packed with used copiers were headed overseas – loaded with secrets on their way to unknown buyers in Argentina and Singapore.

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