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Copy Machines Can Store Your Private Info

Today, copy machines, fax machines and many printers are just like computers; they’re smart and they have hard drives or flash drives and can store data that can be extracted. Peripherals in the olden days, just like when dot-com was a significant part of a person’s stock portfolio, were dumb.

Because of the increased demand of networked technologies, manufacturers of all these peripherals met the demand and built them so they can be easily accessed by everyone in the office.  These same peripherals are often wireless too.

The issue here is that these devices, sometimes, but aren’t always treated with the same considerations as a computer would have.  PCs are often locked down, access is limited and the data might be encrypted. Worse, when someone upgrades to a new PC, the old PC’s data is supposed to be removed, reformatted etc. This procedure is often overlooked on a copier/printer/fax.

Consider what kind of data is copied at your doctors, banks, mortgage broker and accountants office. Generally, there might be personal identifying information that can be used to create a new accounts or take over exiting accounts.

Where do old peripherals go? Many of them head to warehouses to be resold. Others end up on eBay. A quick search on eBay results in 7845 copiers for sale and 1130 used ones. If I can buy an ATM off Craigslist with over 1000 credit and debit card numbers on it, how much data do you think we can get from used copiers?

All the more reason to protect your identity.

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 29 March, 2010, 15:01Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Excellent point well made.

The same applies to the company car pool. Anything with wheels has an engine engine management system to it. The better ones have great diagnostics to determine what was happening when that rattle started. And if there's an integrated sat nav, the garage knows where you were.

Not that hard to read the data back out and reconstruct places, routes, times.

Big Brother could be very busy. Worse, so could your underhand competitor.