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Your Copy Machine is Saving Your Personal Information

Updated on June 15, 2010

As if identity theft wasn't a big enough problem already, a new security issue has been found with the everyday office copier.  You may not realize it, but every document, photo, and scan you make with your copy machine is being saved to a hard drive inside of the copy machine.  Many companies and individuals then sell these machines to Electronics Stores, warehouses, and even other individuals or companies.  While many people certainly do not know that the copy machine they just bought contains a wealth of personal information, there are certainly some individuals with poor intent who can easily access this saved information.  Although not everyone scans personal information, many people scan documents that contains Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other personally identifiable information that could lead to identity theft.

The issue lies in the fact that the scanner contains a hard drive that saves a copy of every image that is placed on the scanner.  This hard drive is not easily seen or found by normal consumers.  It is hidden deep within the scanner, and only people who know what they're looking for can find it.  This has a lot of ramifications for companies that scan customer's personal information.  While it hasn't happened yet, the date of breech of this kind can spell enormous legal troubles for the company.  For individuals, this kind of data breech can mean that any document scanned containing medical information, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, financial information, and other private data can be released without the individual's knowledge.

So how do you stop this problematic issue with your scanner?  There are not many things you can do that will allow you to still be able to sell the scanner.  The best option is to have a professional locate and wipe the hard drive of the scanning machine.  It is possible to even have the hard drive replaced and the old one destroyed.  If your company scans any important information for its customers, this kind of action needs to be done.  If not, the company can be responsible for any information that is released and it can potentially be sued if any customers experience identity theft.

If you're the IT manager for your company, you'll definitely want to look into this issue.  The link to the video below shows an investigation done by CBS News.  This is definitely an issue that should not be overlooked when considering the security of a company's customers or your own personal data.

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