Photocopier peril

Affinity Health in the US has had to notify @400,000 customers and staff of a potential data breach. A firm suffering a data breach? "Nothing new there!" you say.

In this case though, the method the data was lost is a little more unusual (as was the method of discovery). You see, CBS was investigating the ticking "digital time bomb" of office photocopiers and purchased 4 copiers. Upon removing the hard drives and running a forensic tool over them they found confidential police data on 2 machines, construction plans and payroll data on a third and on the fourth - patient information from Affinity Health.

A quick search on datalossdb shows a few entries for fax machine breaches (mostly by sending a fax to the wrong number), but only one entry for copiers - the Affinity Health breach.

The CBS article asks, "Has the industry inform the general public of the potential risks involved with a copier?" to which the President of Sharp Imaging says "yes".

They do point out all the major manufacturers offer 'encryption options' or security packages, but without providing any information on what percentage of buyers are willing to pay the extra dollars.

Here's a thought - include it by default! Make it impossible to buy a digital photocopier without encryption or secure deletion!

I think it was in the Mitnick book "Stealing the Network" (or perhaps it was in "The Art of Intrusion") that a hacker stealthily entered a network and took control of a digital copier.

In the meantime, what does you organization do with it's old copiers when the lease ends or they end-of-life?

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