Friday, May 21, 2010

Photocopier privacy issues

Photocopiers used at offices pose a serious threat to the privacy. With nearly all models of the photocopiers manufactured after 2002-03 comes with a built-in Hard Disk. Whether it was used as a temp buffer to store the scanned documents for printing or for serving the scanned documents over the network as most devices have a in-built file server, it throws a surprise. While this was done to improve the performance as to use the HDD as a scratch pad for multiple copies, the image stays there forever!

Once written to the HDD, the images can be very easily recovered revealing all the details. Right from CC (Credit card) numbers to personal information such as SSN, Addresses, Telephone Records, Medical Records, Blue prints, Internal official documents and whatever was scanned, photocopied!

It is a must to erase the HDD on the devices (Desktops, Laptops, Personal Media/Music Players, Storage units, Cell phones, Printers, Photocopiers, Multi function devices) before disposing it off. This requires removing the storage unit from the device and erasing using one of the secure erasing tools available in the market. There are numerous freeware applications available in the market to erase the data permanently off the magnetic storage devices and even a single pass erasure is sufficient to thwart the most common data theives.

A recently published article reveals the amount of spine shocking information mined through such storage units salvaged from old, disposed photocopier machines.


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