Archive for March, 2014

News: California DMV hit with possible data breach

March has been tough as far as stolen data goes.  Most recently, the California DMV announced customer infomration may have been  compromised after MasterCard sent several banks a notice saying that credit card numbers, expiration dates, and three-digit verification codes were compromised.

That full initial story can be found here at Krebs on Security.  Here’s an excerpt.

If indeed the California DMV has suffered a breach of their online payments system, it’s unclear how many card numbers may have been stolen. But the experience of one institution that received the MasterCard alert this week may offer some perspective.

The alert was tailored for individual banks, including a list of the credit and debit card numbers that each bank had potentially exposed. One California bank that received the alert said the notice included a list of more than 1,000 cards that the bank had issued to customers. To put that in perspective, this same bank had just over 3,000 cards impacted by the breach at Target late last year, and that was a break-in that ultimately jeopardized more than 40 million card numbers at banks nationwide.

A few weeks ago A data breach in the North Dakota University System was announced. School officials said the intrusion could impact hundreds of thousands of people. Check out the official statement from the school here. 

On February 7, the NDUS discovered suspicious activity on a server. Unfortunately, the impacted server housed personal information, such as names and Social Security numbers, for more than 290,000 current and former students and about 780 faculty and staff. The server was immediately locked down. The internal investigation, as well as an external forensic team, found no evidence that any personal information was accessed, copied, transmitted or printed. However, NDUS is offering identity protection services to those whose information was housed on the server as an extra precaution.

The university system says it will begin notifying those who could have been impacted and provide information on its website about free credit monitoring to those who were affected.

An interesting side note, Brian Krebs, who broke the Target story and who wrote about the California DMV breach will be the subject of a new movies.  Via the Star Tribune. 

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. confirmed Friday that it is working on a movie based on the security blogger who exposed TargetCorp.’s monster data security breach.

No production date has been set, a Sony spokeswoman said, but the cyberthriller will be penned by Richard Wenk, a writer and director whose credits include “The Expendables 2” and “The Mechanic.” He also wrote “The Equalizer,” a not-yet-released movie that has Denzel Washington playing a former black ops commando.

Also, a bit about Krebs from the Tribune article. Unreal.

The blogger, Brian Krebs, is an independent investigative reporter who digs into the dark Web world of hackers, malware, stolen data and cybercriminals, many from Eastern Europe. The former Washington Post reporter says he keeps a 12-gauge shotgun handy because he has been threatened so often. He was once shipped a parcel containing fecal matter.

Back to the matter at hand. Data safety. If you need your data securely destroyed you know who you can count on. Please check out our comprehensive website to select the one or all of the many data destruction and electronic recycling services we supply.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

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03 2014

The Dangers of Dumping E-Waste into Landfills

E-Waste such as old computers, tablets and even cell phones are piling up in American homes as new technology emerges everyday. Improper disposal of this waste can contaminate groundwater and the surrounding environments by releasing the toxic substances used to build these machines.

Take for instance cell phones. Many cell phone batteries contain Arsenic, a highly poisonous substance, which, if allowed to leak out into the environment, can cause severe skin problems even at low levels of exposure.

Cell phone batteries also contain lead, as does the solder used in putting together certain parts of the handset. Lead can damage the nervous system of humans and animals, as well as causing extensive damage to any local plant life. Disastrously, up to 40% of all of the lead found in landfill sites are from consumer electronics.

Mercury is found in many different parts of a cellphone, and because it is in a liquid form at room temperature, it can very easily find its way into streams and rivers. From there, it starts to build up and finds its way into the food chain. To put it bluntly, fish ingests it and then we consume fish. Mercury can cause all sorts of problems to health as a result of exposure which range from brain damage, to birth defects and miscarriage.

Instead, Recycle

Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.

Here are a few interesting facts about e-waste recycling and some tips on how to prepare your electronics for the process via the U.S. EPA

For example:

  • Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.
  • For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

Before Donating or Recycling Your Used Electronics

  • For your computer or laptop, consider upgrading the hardware or software instead of buying a brand new product.
  • Delete all personal information from your electronics.
  • Remove any batteries from your electronics, they may need to be recycled separately.

 

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

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03 2014

Fun: Old Computer Turned Arcade Machine Delights at SXSW

This is why recycling is so awesome. In an effort to boost awareness for electronics recycling a few companies chipped in to resuscitate a 90’s relic from the pre-internet age. Check out the original post at Earth911 for more photos etc.

At the preview night of Fader Fort, one of the premier parties of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, blue drinks flowed, Chromeo laid down their brand of electrofunk, and even P. Diddy stopped by to say hello, but there was perhaps no bigger star than a 14-year-old computer.

And while it looked exactly like the computer you had a decade and a half ago, it wasn’t just any 14-year-old machine — this former Dell desktop had been transformed into a gametop with around 50 retro games (think Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and lots of Mario Bros.) with the goal of highlighting Dell Reconnect, a partnership between Dell and Goodwill that provides consumers free and convenient computer recycling. The program reaches more than 166 million people throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Dell Reconnect program started in Austin 10 years ago, so exhibiting at SXSW is like home. Other displays around Fader Fort included a Dell logo sign made from more than 10,000 keyboard keys, wood pallets recycled into seating for standing-weary festivalgoers, tables and planters fashioned out of a variety of computer parts, and placards toting fun facts about the program — for instance, donating one working computer to Dell Reconnect equates to 6.8 hours of job training for a Goodwill employee.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

 

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03 2014

How to Find a Responsible Electronic Recycler

With technology often evolving faster than perceived market demand, electronics have officially become the largest growing recyclable material in the U.S., with over 7 million tons of electronics equipment available for recycling each year.

Electronics recyclers must take special care to ensure that any hazardous substances or residues removed during the recycling process (such as batteries, leaded-glass, and mercury) are recovered safely and recycled. Over at Earth911, they’ve got a run down of how to recycle everything from clothes to iPods. Recently, they posted an interesting look at the Electronic Recycling industry.

Electronics Recycling Faces Regulation

As recycling is a business endeavor, these companies must do all this while trying to maximize the profit on what is collected. Herein lies the challenge – the responsible de-manufacturing of electronics costs money.

According to a report from the International Data Corporation, in 2011 the ever-growing electronics recycling industry responsibly processed between three and four million tons of used electronics equipment. However, there is an estimated 7 million tons of electronics equipment (predominately from households) available for recycling, meaning about 3 million tons are still being sent to landfills. To ensure responsible practices are used for disposal as well as  privacy, safety and environmental practice, some states have passed laws to ensure the responsible recycling of used electronics.

Half of all U.S. states now fall under some type of e-cycling or landfill ban. From manufacturer-financed end of life management to mandatory consumer take-back programs, 25 states now have laws on electronics recycling in one form or another: the common driver within each law being the increased recovery and safe recycling of used electronics.

 The Importance of Electronics Certification

A trend on the rise across the industry is the requirement for electronic recyclers to be certified by an accredited third party, which helps them conform the recycling process to a set standard of privacy and environmental compliance.

One such certification on the rise is the R2/ RIOS standard, a dual standard combing the R2 certification with the Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS).

PCS of MA has a RIOS Certification pending in the fall of 2014!

The Right Way to Recycle Electronics

As a consumer, there are some important things to know or ask when preparing to recycle your used electronics.

First, are electronics covered in your city collection program? Many municipalities offer electronic recycling pickup or drop-off services as part of residential solid waste programs. If your city does not offer e-cycling, many retailers and independent recyclers can be found with a simple internet search.

Another question to look into is how to prepare your electronics for e-cycling. Many electronic recyclers will guarantee data destruction as part of their services, but others will not, meaning you would want to wipe your hard drive data before turning it over to the facility.

Or you can have PCS of Mass take care of it all for you! Learn more here.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

 

PCS of Massachusetts has American Pride

Lisa and Charles Bacewickz received the Patriot Employer Award in 2013.

Did you know that PCS Mass is a designated ‘Patriotic Employer?’ It’s true. Last year the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, announced that Lisa and Charles Bacewicz, PCS of Massachusetts, L.L.C (R2) were honored with a Patriot Awards in recognition of extraordinary support of their employee who serves in the Massachusetts National Guard and Reserve.

The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support Citizen Warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

 

13

03 2014

News: 4-year long HIPAA breach uncovered in Virginia

It was reported early this year that a former employee at a 5-hospital healthcare system in Virginia accessed confidential patient records over a four year period. The massive breach of security and rivacy could end up costing the company, Riverside Health System, millions.

From September 2009 through October 2013, a former Riverside employee inappropriately accessed the Social Security numbers and electronic medical records of 919 patients. Reportedly, the employee was a licensed practical nurse, according to a Daily Press account. The breach wasn’t discovered until Nov. 1 following a random company audit.

According to a Heathcare IT article, the settlement could be incredibly expensive topping almost $50 million.

HIPAA covered entities and, more recently, business associates can be slapped with up to $50,000 fines per HIPAA violation due to willful neglect that goes uncorrected. Entities could face $10,000 per violation due to willful neglect when the violation is properly addressed.

There’s an easy solution for a problem like this: Hire PCS to come and destroy your vulnerable data on-site. At PC Survivors of Mass., we offer a seven stage solution for data destruction when we bring the equipment to you.

  1. Arrive at your Facility with our AMS-750HD Mobile Hard Drive/Data Shredder with ¾” Shred Cut/Enhanced Throughput and our Optical Media Destruction Device (OMDD) HSM 411.2 Cross Cut Shredder for CDs and DVDs.Off-site: Take Custody of your Data in Locked Containers and transport Data back to our Secure Warehouse for Destruction.
  2. Scan each individual Hard Drive Serial Number prior to destruction/All other Data items will be counted by type.
  3. Destroy each individual Hard Drive/Data by means of Mechanical Shredding.
  4. Provide the client with a USB Data Storage Device containing the individual serial numbers of each Shredded Hard Drive and final counts of all Data destroyed.
  5. Provide the client with a Video Tape Media Card of their entire Destruction Service.
  6. Provide the client with a Certificate of Data Destruction with hard copy listing of individual Hard Drive serial numbers and final counts of all Data destroyed.
  7. Provide the client with a Certificate of Recycling for the Hard Drive/Data shredded material.

If you’d like to learn more about our data destruction services, head over our PCS Mass. website here.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

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03 2014