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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Your Copy Machine – A Security Threat?

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, May 17, 2010
1:44 pm

The thought never crossed my mind until my colleague Jack Crail sent me a link to this short CBS News video that outlines little-known security risks lurking in the background – hard drives in digital copier containing thousands of pages of sensitive information.


A companion print article highlighted a short study of four copiers detailed in the video:

The results were stunning: from the sex crimes unit there were detailed domestic violence complaints and a list of wanted sex offenders.

On a second machine from the Buffalo Police Narcotics Unit we found a list of targets in a major drug raid.

The third machine, from a New York construction company, spit out design plans for a building near Ground Zero in Manhattan; 95 pages of pay stubs with names, addresses and social security numbers; and $40,000 in copied checks.

But it wasn’t until hitting "print" on the fourth machine – from Affinity Health Plan, a New York insurance company, that we obtained the most disturbing documents: 300 pages of individual medical records. They included everything from drug prescriptions, to blood test results, to a cancer diagnosis. A potentially serious breach of federal privacy law.

Who knows how much of your personal information is floating out in never-never land on copier hard drives you may not have even known about?


One Response to “Your Copy Machine – A Security Threat?”

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