Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The digital copier's dirty little secret! Identity theft?

Destroy your copier?
I'm sure many of you know that the copiers you use in your office everyday are almost certainly leased from a provider. Those wonderful, fancy digital copiers that do everything but make your coffee in the morning have a dirty little secret - they all have a hard drive! Let me paint this picture for you...say you wake up sick and decide to go to the doctor. When you arrive they ask for a copy of your insurance card and drivers license. Nothing unusual about that. They make the appropriate copy, give your cards back and you sit down to begin your wait for the doctor. Fast forward 1-2 years down the road. The doctor's office decides that its time to change out or upgrade their copiers.

The company they lease the machines from come to pick up the old copiers and deliver the new ones. The old copiers go to a warehouse where they will be stored until they are sold or reconditioned. Let's say one of the copiers is sold at a warehouse sale. The person that bought the copier installs it in their office or home and begins to use it. Let's say this person is pretty thrifty with their IT skills. They decide to access the hard drive in the copier to see if anything is on it. Bodda bing, bodda boom - they print a copy of your drivers license and insurance card. Imagine what other vital information the previous owner, the doctor's office, copied that is now there for anyone and everyone to see. This could end up in an identity theft shopping spree if someone really put their brain into it. And, we are just using the example of a doctor's office!!

CBS news did an investigation on this topic and found some scary results very similar to what we just described. Let's all hope that the IT departments of our own companies, or the company we lease our copiers from, has the brains to purge the hard drives in our copiers before they ever leave our company's possession!

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