This just in: According to a recent report, copy and multi-function machines in offices contain a huge, unknown security risk that all businesses must address immediately or face the legal, financial, and PR repercussions of a security breach.
A Surprising Fact About Your Office Copier
Nearly every printer, copier and multi-function machine manufactured after 2002 contains a hard drive that stores the images of every document you’ve ever copied, faxed, or scanned. These document images stay on that machine’s hard drive forever and can quickly and easily be reproduced with a little know-how. Surprisingly, this little fact has not received any press – until now.
A CBS Undercover Investigation
In April of this year, a reporter went undercover to a New Jersey copier warehouse that had over 6,000 used copy machines in stock for resale. This investigation reveals a shocking fact – it’s incredibly easy for a person to retrieve and reproduce every single document ever scanned, copied, or faxed through the machines available for resale.
As part of the investigation, the CBS reporter pulled 4 random machines that were available for sale and purchased them for approximately $300 each. These machines were immediately loaded onto a truck and delivered within 2 hours to this reporter’s office. Using a free application available online, he was able to access the hard drive of each machine and reproduce the documents within 30 minutes. What he uncovered was unbelievable.
Disturbing Facts Revealed By The Investigation
They discovered that one of the machines was formerly owned by the City of Buffalo, New York, Sex Crimes Division. In no time at all they were able to access over 249,000 documents that passed through that machine, including lists of sex offenders and crime data. Another machine from the Buffalo PD Narcotics Division contained a list of drug raid targets. The third machine was from a construction company. It contained blueprints of buildings, over $40,000 in check copies, as well as pages of paystubs, names, and the social security numbers of employees.
But the fourth machine was the most disturbing. It was previously owned by a New York health insurance firm and contained over 300 pages of detailed medical records including drug prescriptions, blood tests, and even a cancer diagnosis – all which blatantly violate the new HIPAA laws.
Know What Your Responsibility Is
Before you trade in, resell or dispose of any office copier, scanner or multifunction machine you MUST make sure the hard drive is wiped clean of all information as you would any computer in your office. Failure to do so could result in damaging security breaches and identity theft for your company, staff, and customers. This goes DOUBLE if you use your office machines to scan, fax, or copy social security numbers, credit cards, or medical records of any kind.
As always, we are here to assist you with all things digital. If you are getting ready to dispose of or trade in a copier, scanner, fax, or multi-function machine, give us a call. You can reach us at 954-920-9604. We can make sure your data is forever erased and inaccessible to criminals looking for an easy hit.