Data Protection Methods Only Work If You Use Them
Contributed by Joanne C. Kelleher
CBS News recently did a story on the data security holes related to digital copiers and multi function printers (MFPs). A CBS reporter purchased some used machines and worked with security firm to pull out the hard drives and read the data that was stored there. They found medical information from an insurance company, payroll records from a construction firm and sex offender records from a police department. As you can see in the video, it was surprisingly easy for them to obtain private information and it was all done legally, no hacking required.
The security issue around hard drives on MFPs isn’t new. Several manufactures offer encryption, overwrite and other data protection methods on their machines, although the default may be off or there is an extra change for these security functions. Manufacturers also encourage customers to remove the hard disk when turning in their MFPs, although local dealers and leasing agents have not always done so.
Sharp has been conducting a survey about the awareness of these risks for several years and then working to educate their customers. But their results show that there is still a long way to go until people understand that they need to treat their digital copiers and MFPs as computers, rather then old-fashioned mimeograph machines.
Bottom line: Whether using copiers, embedded systems or RFID tags, encryption and other data protection methods can only work if you implement and enable them.
CBS News: Copy Machines, a Security Risk?
CBS News: Photocopier Fallout: Company Notifies 409,000 of Data Breach
Real Business at Xerox Blog – CBS Copier Security Investigation & What You Need to Know
Survey Indicates Organizations Underestimate Potential Security Risk Of Copier/Printers: IT Pros Often Unaware of Hard Drive’s Vulnerability to Intruders
Majority Of Americans Are Not Aware That Their Personal And Financial Information May Be At Risk Of Theft
Americans Are At A Digital Loss To Protect Personal And Financial Information