In the spirit of the holidays, e-End is offering all residential clients the opportunity to bring their used electronics to our warehouse to be properly recycled free of charge! This promotion is valid through Thursday, December 22nd. All items with the exception of Projection or Tube televisions, will be taken at no cost, so bring us your old electronics before you replace or upgrade them this holiday season. Happy Holidays!
DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is paying out $50k to anyone that can solve their sequence of five challenges for reconstructing shredding documents. In order to solve each problem, the contestants have to solve a puzzle that is in the content of the shredded documents. The goal of this contest is to help identify ways to improve the ways that US Troops can reconstruct shredded documents in the field as well as to find ways to improve our own data security.
Taking a pile of confetti and turning it into a few top secret documents is a cool trick, but think about how many hidden documents could be put back together from a shredded hard drive. Hundreds? Thousands? All those paper documents originated from somewhere, and my guess is it wasn’t a typewriter or a pencil. You want to reconstruct data, go to the source. Hopefully, DARPA’s next contest will involve the reconstruction of data taken from hard drives.
Portable technology is great, isn’t it? Anything you can access on your home or work computer; music, movies, documents, etc, can be taken with you on a smart phone, tablet, laptop, thumb drive, or any other of the myriad of portable data storage devices. But what represents convenience and ease of access to you, is an absolute nightmare in terms of data security.
In August, a thumb drive was lost by a physician in Delaware and was only found once it had been anonymously mailed back to him. The drive contained information for over 450 patients that had taken part in a prenatal and maternity care program.
All it takes is one misplaced device as small as well, a thumb, to compromise the records of hundreds, sometimes thousands of patients. The people who enforce HIPAA tend to not like that, and depending on the state, the attorney general can sue on behalf of the victims.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) recently introduced a bill that would make companies that do not adequately protect against data breaches face heavy fines and would also allow the victims of those data breaches to sue the company at fault.
Several states already have laws in place that fine companies for not taking the correct steps to protect their data, and this bill would bring federal law into line with the existing state laws.
As if state and federal fines, horrendous PR, and the cost of recovery from a data breach weren’t enough for companies to take data security seriously, the threat of a class action lawsuit from the victims of a potential data breach should yet another reason for companies to look into all aspects of their data security.
Back in June, office supply retail giant Staples got itself into some seriously hot water by reselling used computers that still contained customer data. The devices went through a “wipe and restore” process before being put up for resale, but an audit by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada found private data such as health care information, passport numbers, bank information, and tax records on data containing devices such as hard drives and flash drives.
While we applaud consumers for trying to do the right thing and recycle their electronics, we also must stress the importance of making sure you choose a recycler that will guarantee that your data will be destroyed. The big box stores accept them for free, but are dealing with a huge volume of materials, and without cost, there is no consideration. You can’t beat free, but you also get what you pay for.