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    Toronto Star: High-tech copy machines a gold mine for data thieves

    The Toronto Star reports on a privacy issue that a Boston TV station recently discussed: the privacy problems that can occur because of unsecured copy machines that can store private data:

    Turns out the newfangled, multi-purpose copy machines in your office keep a wealth of copied data on a hard drive that anyone can hack. […]

    Victor Beitner, a security expert who reconfigures photocopy machines destined for resale in Toronto, says businesses are completely unaware of the potential information security breach when the office photocopier is replaced.

    They think the copier is just headed for a junkyard but, in most cases, when the machine goes, so does sensitive data that have been stored on the copier’s hard drive for years. […]

    Of the dozens of multi-purpose copiers Beitner has cleaned out in the past two years, he has seen hundreds of scanned documents that would be considered confidential. As a personal policy, he never reads them, but can easily tell where they are by the file names and sizes.

    “In almost all the machines I have seen, the files, phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses are left there as if it was still in the office,” said Beitner. “There are files from insurance companies, medical facilities, pharmaceutical and regular office-type documents,” he said. […]

    And, as a few Google searches will show you, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home. The activity of photocopiers linked to an unsecure network can be seen and tracked online. With a few clicks of a mouse, and no knowledge of how to hack, we could see the latest activity of a photocopier in Korea, which included copies of invoices and employee expenses. […]

    The cheaper thing to do, says Beitner, is to make the data inaccessible, clear the memory on the machine and change the pass codes through the machine panel. It doesn’t completely wipe the hard drive, but renders it unusable to the average person.

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