Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Copiers have hard drives?

I don't think much about copying machines. I just make my copies, print what I need to print, fax what I need to fax, and scan what I need to scan. What I didn't realize is that since about 2002, commercial copying machines have been built with hard drives that store as images everything you have ever copied on your machine.

Now imagine you manage the copying machines for a medical center, insurance company, police department, or other organization that routinely prints and copies secure and confidential information. Imagine if some of the machines you manage are getting older and you replace them, surplusing the old machines for resale. Anyone who buys your old machines could potentially remove the hard drive and pull the data off of it; data that consists of all the documents ever processed through the machines. Am I being paranoid? Watch this:

Am I still being paranoid? Maybe your company should update its security plan to include how to dispose of copying machines. Just a thought.



  1. Interesting blog -- however, I believe that it's an infinite number of monkeys at a infinite number of typewriters banging out the works of Shakespeare. I don't think a mere million will cut it.

  2. Oh my gosh. That is VERY disturbing. I'm afraid I can't accuse you of being needlessly paranoid -- especially as it seems that the copiers / hard drives most likely to contain specifically sensitive information about a person would not be within their control.

  3. I'm regretting all those copies I made of my bare butt now...

  4. To Anonymous #1, consider the blog's name poetic license. I've heard "chimps", "monkeys", and "apes". Also heard numbers like "10,000", "one million", and infinite. It all works.

    To the rest, thanks. Yes, can you imagine all the body part copies stored secretly in some hard drive in a warehouse somewhere? Good thing you didn't add your signature. :D

  5. At about 3:12 you can plainly see that the "forensic software program available free on the Internet" is nothing more than Ubuntu. I guess the Nautilus file browser wasn't exciting enough for TV, so they showed the GNOME System Monitor graphing CPU usage several times. I bet the software this guy wrote to clean copier hard drives is nothing more than a shell script that makes use of dd and /dev/random.

  6. HAHAHA that make me a forensic software genius. I thought that status graph look familiar....


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