What Your Photocopier Knows

Modern photocopy machines store quite a lot more than those from antiquity.  Lots of confidential documents exist on their large hard drives.  From the Toronto Star:

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.

In the age of everything digital, the photocopier is probably the one workplace item you never thought to worry about. It’s just making a copy of a document, right? How risky could that be?

Very risky, as it turns out. You might want to press cancel on the copy machine right about now.

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.

“If I was the kind of person looking for certain information, this would be a gold mine,” said Beitner, founder of Cyber Security Canada, a security, privacy and threat management company. “People have no clue of what the risks are.”

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.

Alas, the days when people could make butt copies without creating a permanent record are over. . . .

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