April 22nd, 2013
If you’re running a business, you know that paperwork has a way of stacking up fast. This is especially true for accounting or legal practices where paperwork is required to be archived for several years before being allowed to discard old files.
Before the use of computers and scanners businesses had little option but to use up entire storage rooms for their files. Those days are long gone with the advent of digital scanning and storage solutions. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits related to filing your paperwork digitally as opposed to overcrowding your office.
1. Free up space and get rid of clutter. Office space is a precious commodity, one that get swallowed up quickly, especially if you’re fortunate enough to be helming a growing business. Paperwork can take up lots of space and cause a magnitude of clutter. Using a scanning service for your business documents takes years of important documents and puts them into secure digital storage.
2. Customization. With the help of a professional document scanning service, business owners can completely customize their files for easy use. You can choose the file format that best suits your needs. Your digital files can also be saved and organized in the manner that works best (by client, project, date, etc.). Read more »
April 10th, 2013
Here’s what some may say is the ultimate argument for secure document destruction and storage. If the late King Of Pop isn’t immune to compromised document security, you can bet you’ll be susceptible as well if you aren’t careful.
Reports are circulating that ambulance driver Brian McDaniel claims to have Michael Jackson’s medical records from 1984, after the infamous Pepsi commercial debacle that left Jackson with burns to his scalp. The 51-year-old says he found them next to a dumpster (where they always seem to end up) back in 2001, 17 years after the the incident.
McDaniel says he worked in real estate sales at the time. He also collected cans and bottles for recycling fees, which explains why he may have been hanging around a dumpster (and why he must have not been a very good at real estate sales).
According to TheSmokingGun.com, who were given copies of the medical documents by McDaniel, they originated from Brotman Medical Center, where Jackson was treated for his injuries in January, 1984.
McDaniel is, if anything, persistent. Last year he tried to sell the documents through an online auction site, which was cut short after fans and Jackson estate representatives voiced their objections. Pristine Auction estimated they would sell for six figures, maybe as high as half a million dollars. Read more »
April 10th, 2013
It appears there is another case of not taking medical document security seriously, this time in Hiram, Georgia. The FBI is investigating a case involving a dumpster that was filled with medical documents outside an office complex.
The documents were discovered by Ross Cavitt, a local television reporter, who then contacted the Hiram Police Department. While someone saying they were from one of the nearby offices wanted to take action and start cleaning out the dumpster, police sealed it off until the investigation commenced.
The local television station reported that the medical documents came from two medical offices in the complex, one an orthopedic office and a juvenile help center. Both businesses had just moved out from the complex.
Hiram police said they handed the case over to federal agents since no local laws were involved. While neither office was available for comment (intentionally or not), HIPPA regulations in regards to medical records handling is very clear. Read more »
April 1st, 2013
Good news: most doctors are proponents of electronic health records. However, most don’t think it’s a great idea for their patients to have full access. Some feel that goes against one of the big benefits of electronic records, but most doctors aren’t wanting to be as restrictive as it might sound at first.
According to a survey by Accenture, they found that 68 percent of U.S. doctors don’t want patients to have full access to their electronic health records. The reasoning varies and is based on nuanced differences between how much access a patient should have. The operative word here is “full.”
In fact, it seems that most doctors are not just fine with patient access, they’re even fine with them having the ability to change information on their electronic records. Within reason. Read more »
March 4th, 2013
While we may still have a few months until our federal taxes are due, it’s not too early to consider how the process exposes us to identify theft if we don’t secure our information properly. According to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission’s Sentinel Network (the secure online database of consumer complaints), tax fraud-related identity theft passed all other consumer complaints in 2012.
Complaints about everything other than identity theft rose by five percent to 1.69 million, while tax identity theft complaints more than doubled to 160,000. Remarkably, this doesn’t even include ID theft complaints made to the IRS, since they don’t share complaints with the FTC’s Sentinel Network.
This sort of fraud is particularly bold, with instances of people stealing Social Security numbers and using fake W2s and 1099 to apply for substantial refunds from the IRS. Fraudsters also disguise themselves as the IRS in email, so always be aware that the agency would never request information from you electronically. Read more »
February 13th, 2013
In our last post, we discussed the disturbing news of executives at a Colorado company being convicted of deceptive electronics recycling. In reality, it was more disposal than recycling, as they contributed to an already massive environmental disaster in China. Now there’s news of an Arizona electronics recycling company facing the considerable wrath of Microsoft. In the process, it has highlighted yet another reason hiring a reputable shredding and e-recycling company is so important: copyright and trademark infringement.
While most of us are not trademark attorneys, it’s important to at least have the base knowledge that you can’t install unauthorized copies of proprietary software on the computers you receive, then resell them without expecting negative consequences. This is especially true, if as Microsoft alleges, you are warned by the copyright holder of those consequences, but still proceed anyway. Read more »
January 25th, 2013
If you’re looking to upgrade your computer and want to recycle your old one, you’re getting rid of something with just as much potential for a security breach as if you were throwing away credit card or bank statements. The place you choose to take your computer for hard drive destruction is an important decision. Want to know how important?
Two executives at a recycling company in Englewood, Colorado were found guilty of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, environmental crimes, smuggling and obstruction. While Colorado residents were turning over their electronics to Executive Recycling, Inc. with the understanding their items would be safely recycled in the United States, the company was actually sending them off to China.
The government claimed that Executive Recycling “lied to customers” and “sold the waste overseas for profit.”
CEO Brandon Richter and Vice President of Operations Tor Olson were convicted in a federal court after a 60 Minutes investigation revealed the electronics were disposed of in a wasteland in China. Their sentencing is scheduled for April. Read more »
January 16th, 2013
Two weeks ago my wife gets a call from a Visa Fraud Detection employee asking questions about debit card transactions generating in Great Britain…uhh…meanwhile she is standing in Portland, Oregon wondering, how much money has been drained from our checking account. Totally surprised this happened, we found ourselves victims of identity theft.
We tell customers and prospects every single day that identity theft happens and that “it can happen to you.” It can be your employee who, strapped for cash, with maxed out credit cards, starts taking cell phone pictures of front and backs of credit cards who then sells that information into the black market. Or, individuals allowed into work areas where accessible, vulnerable, protected information is breached. The starving restaurant server who takes your card… and takes photos of your card. There is really no way to truly predict who and when and how people will begin to steal and abuse this information. Read more »
December 31st, 2012
Groups like Anonymous can wreak havoc on individuals and companies.
It’s that time again, when people look back on the past year and reflect. Often, they are “best of” lists related to things we enjoy, like movies and music. As for us, we’re going to take a look at something not as pleasant: some of the more prominent information security stories of 2012.
1. Antivirus Company Founder Found
If you enjoy irony, you’ll love this story. The person responsible for one of the most famous personal computer security programs couldn’t keep his own location secure. In November, security expert John McAfee, who sold the antivirus firm bearing his name, said he was running from authorities in Belize who wanted him for murder, something McAfee claimed was a frame job.
McAfee wasn’t a fugitive for long once his location was identified through an information security error. Journalists who were traveling with him posted an iPhone snapshot with McAfee, but didn’t remove the GPS coordinates that are automatically included in images. That led to a quick arrest by Guatemalan authorities, which eventually led to McAfee being deported to Miami.
2. DDoS Attacks on Banks
Individual distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks hit multiple U.S. banks last fall, which not only brought the security threat to the forefront, where a network is compromised with a flood of bogus traffic, but since it involved Islamic hactivists protesting an inflammatory film, national cyber security is also front and center.
Referencing the DDoS attacks, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressed concern: “These attacks delayed or disrupted services on customer websites. While this kind of tactic isn’t new, the scale and speed was unprecedented.” Read more »
December 17th, 2012
But Not When They’re Shredded Correctly
Secure document shredding is our business. The idea is not simply slicing paper, but to destroy it beyond recognition. What if you don’t do an adequate job and someone has technology that can reassemble it?
Shakespeare famously wrote, “What’s done can’t be undone.” Now, thanks to software advances, what’s undone can sometimes be re-done: It’s possible to digitally reassemble shredded documents using sophisticated software. However, there are limitations—at least for the time being.
While sinister intentions could be a concern, the software is primarily intended for positive reasons, for instance, to aid in white-collar criminal investigations, where it’s important to be able to reconstruct destroyed documents needed for evidence. The process was once done by hand—a significantly more painstaking and time-consuming endeavor.
One such software application, Unshredder, lists its clients as being mainly law firms, private and police investigators, and government agencies. Unshredder bills itself as “the first commercial document reconstruction tool in the world!” It’s fast, intuitive, and relatively inexpensive to license, compared to the dollar-per-hour for reassembling by hand. Read more »