Copy Machine Security Risk: How to Prevent Your Personal Info Being Eaten

Information technology brings us huge security risk as well as great convenience. Never underestimate digital devices around you. The copy machine is no exception. It makes it easier to give away your personal information than PC and sometimes for free. I am not kidding. Those security risk posed by the copier should never be ignored.

Copy Machine Security Risk

Watch this video about the security issue first.

Confirmed The Security Risk - My Personal Experience

In order to confirm some facts as shown in CBS News, I came to a print shop nearby. Customers of the shop are mainly students from a university. During the conversation with the service person, I talked about the copy machine security topic intentionally to gauge if she knows something about it. At the beginning she was very open to talk about that and even showed some curiosity about where I heard about the news. But later with the topic went deep to the technical layer (such as the hard drive insides the copier), she became kind of cautious. From her implication, I’d better not let too many people know about the risk. Obviously, she was concerned about her business. The more students know the machine risk, the more risk the shop’s business is put in. Her concern is quite reasonable as her income relies heavily on paper copying or printing (such as students’ CV, activity materials etc.)

The Results:
1. It's true that nearly every copy machine is equipped with a hard drive like a computer does.
2. Also every copy or print paper is recorded as an image and stored in the hard drive. And the images can be exported and duplicated without needing the original papers. It means the students’ personal info insides the resumes can be leaked out.
3. Even if you command delete button through the copier to erase those copying records, they can be recovered with data recovery technology.
4. Most disappointed to hear that nearly 90% of the students know nothing about the security risk or copy machine hard drive issue. A survey held by SHARP in 2008 indicated that 60% of Americans don’t know that copiers store images on hard drives.

How Prevent Your Private Information

Now that you have known the copy machines are with high security risk, here are several tips that may help you protect your privacy as most as possible.

1. If possible take good control of your source papers. Better not print or copy those containing highly-private info on machines that you can’t control (such as outside copy or print shop etc.).
2. If you are in a company, take good care of the copier and don’t let unauthorized persons to access the attached hard drive.
3. Better stay away from leased or used copy machines. Do not sell or buy second-hand ones from or to anyone in case you get legal problems.
4. If you really have to give away the copy machines, wipe the hard drive data permanently.

1 comment:

  1. is this also true of smaller home printers/copiers?