Archive for the ‘News’Category

In the News: Study Shows Recycled Computers Give Away Personal Information

A study commissioned in Australia by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), a non-profit, data protection watchdog agency, has found significant amounts of personal information left on recycled computers.

According to NAID CEO Bob Johnson ,” The study is rather simple. We randomly purchased 52 recycled computer hard drives from a range of publicly available sources, such as eBay. We then asked a highly reputable forensic investigator, Insight Intelligence Pty.Ltd, to determine whether confidential information was on those drives. The procedure used to find the information is intentionally very basic and did not require an unusually high degree of technical heroics. Had the data been properly erased, it could not have been found.”hard drive photo good

The result: private, sensitive information was found such as medical records, bank account holder’s personal information, confidential client correspondence and billing information – pointing to hard drives from businesses and medical facilities. Some of the hard drives pointed to being previously owned by individuals because they contained private images, videos and details of a highly personalized nature.

The study continued to note that where private information was found, there were some indications that someone had attempted to remove the information but failed to do so.

Mario Bekes, Insight Intelligence’s managing director warned that “businesses and individuals take a big risk by attempting to erase hard drives themselves. It is not a do-it-yourself project.” Bekes also encourages businesses and consumers to seek out a certified recycling company with technical expertise and who take data destruction seriously.

[Source: NAID-ANZ Secondhand Hard Drive Study]

INDUSTRY NEWS: Majority of e-waste collected in 2014 not recycled correctly

Waste Dive Brief:
By Nicole Wrona | April 21, 2015 Re-Printed from Waste Dive Website

According to a new report, The Global E-waste Monitor 2014: Quantities, Flows and Resources, the volume of electronic waste discarded around the globe reached 41.8 million tons in 2014. Less than one-sixth of that was considered to be reused or recycled properly.
The report, released by the United Nations University, concluded that almost 60% of e-waste generated worldwide was comprised of kitchen, bath, and laundry appliances.
Two countries, the U.S. and China, disposed of almost one-third of the world’s total volume of electronic waste last year.

Dive Insight:

Computers, cell phones, printers, and other technology made up 7% of the waste; small household appliances like microwaves and toasters accounted for 12.8 million tons of waste; screens made up 6.3 million tons of waste.

The 41.8 million tons of electronics tossed in 2014 had a potential value of $52 billion worth of reusable resources. The report estimates that electronic waste thrown out in 2014 had approximately 16,500 kilotons of iron, 1,900 kilotons of copper and 331 tons of gold, not to mention quantities of silver, aluminum, and palladium.

Eight Items you Didn’t Know you Could Recycle

Most people know by now that recycling helps save our Earth. With the number of landfills in the United States increasing, and the majority of waste in these landfills being electronics waste, there is so much more work that needs to be done in reducing waste and keeping the environment safe.electronic-waste-trashcan

What exactly is e-Waste?

What exactly is e-Waste and what can be recycled? The term “e-Waste” is an abbreviation of “electronic waste”. According to StEP (Solving the eWaste Problem), who is a United Nations partner organization, “E-Waste is a term used to cover items of all types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by the owner as waste without the intention of re-use.”

End-of-life televisions, computers, copiers, laptops, monitors, medical/lab equipment, refrigerators and GPS devices are just a few examples of e-Waste that needs to be recycled rather than thrown away.

Where does all the e-Waste go?

Accelerating product innovations and replacement – especially in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and office/medical/lab equipment – combined with the change from analog to digital technologies (ex. to flat-screen TVs and monitors) – are feeding the increase. Fueling this growth is the decrease in the cost of electronic items making them more affordable to consumers.

As more electronics are manufactured, and subsequently replace their out-of-date cousins, where do all the old ones go?

Some of us do try to re-use and recycle our old electronics. However many of us also have e-Waste that remains in basements, attics and storage rooms – out of sight, out of mind.

Although we are doing a better job of recycling paper and cardboard, more attention needs to be given to e-Waste and its proper disposal. Many have steered away from recycling certain products because they weren’t aware that these items can be re-used and recycled – or simply thought it was inconvenient and stashed them away for another day.

PCS of Massachusetts CEO Lisa DiPaolo Bacewicz amidst the current stream of electronics in the process of being recycled at her facility in Weymouth. Chris Bernstein photo

PCS of Massachusetts CEO Lisa DiPaolo Bacewicz amidst the current stream of electronics in the process of being recycled at her facility in Weymouth. Chris Bernstein photo

In addition to recycling computers, printers and such, the following list contains eleven items often thrown away in the past, but can be re-used and recycled today. These items are not allowed in door-side recycling bins. Call a certified electronics recycling company to help you properly dispose of the following items.

1) Batteries: The more batteries that end up in landfills, the more volatile the landfills become – bad for our Earth.

2) VHS and cassette tapes: Are you still holding onto leftover VHS and cassette tapes? These items can be recycled.

3) Ink jet and laser cartridges: Most people toss the empty cartridges in the trash which is a no no.

4) CDs, DVDs, Game Disks: These plastic orbs are stuffing our landfills. These can be efficiently shredded at a responsible recycling company.

5) Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs): Energy efficient- yes – but there are hidden dangers sealed inside each little bulb, such as Mercury, where the contents of one light bulb contains enough mercury to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water.

6) Cell phones: Only 10% are re-used. In a recent announcement made by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at this year’s Mobile World Congress “There are more in-use cell phones than there are people on the planet right now.” Where will all the old phones go?

7) Cameras/Camcorders: As technology advances in camera technology, where are all the out-of-use cameras going? Recycle them instead of tossing into the trash/landfills!

8) Power Cords/Power Supplies: As the end-of-life electrics are rendered obsolete – so go their power supplies.

What can we do?

Contact a certified, responsible recycling company who will advise you as to how to properly dispose of your e-Waste. Help keep our environment safe!

Recycle with data security at the forefront

We live in a world where company and personal information is a highly valued commodity. It is crucial that companies do everything they can to stop their sensitive information from falling into the wrong and most devastating hands.

Recent mega-breaches by the numbers*:

Target: 40 million – The number of credit and debit cards thieves stole from Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013

eBay: 145 million people affected

JP Morgan Chase & Co.: 76 million households and 7 million small businesses affected

CHS Community Health Systems: 4.5 million people affected

Michael’s Stores: 2.6 million people affected

Neiman Marcus: 1.1 million people affected

The result?

Mega breaches are mega expensive! The average cost of a data breach for a company is $188 per record. Based on an average 28,765 records per US breach, one study identified a total organization cost of $5,403,644 per data breach.*

A call for change!

According to eWeek, “An alarming number of widely publicized data breaches is sparking change in the attitudes of business leaders and consumers when it comes to cyber-security. Consumers and regulators alike are demanding more communication and remedies from businesses after data breaches occur. As a result, the topic is one of the highest priorities facing businesses and regulators in 2015.”

Although the spotlight has been on infiltration by a criminal hacker, breaches can happen as a result of a company’s negligence in handling its end-of-life electronics; computers, hard drives, cell phones and all other data-bearing devices.

It is a paradox that while electronic waste is entering the waste stream at an accelerated pace, there’s little to no information on what happens to e-waste in the end – and the chaos that can ensue if not handled properly and responsibly.

By carefully reviewing an organization’s electronics and data disposal process, companies can nip the problem in the bud.

How can we do our part in helping to thwart data breaches?

Make it a top priority to outsource the management of unwanted electronics equipment to those who are qualified and experienced in handling recycling and data security management.

Be sure to use a R2/RIOS Certified, responsible recyling/data destruction company. These are highly regulated companies who achieve the highest level of excellence. Look for other certifications and compliances as well – HIPAA, DoD, NIST, NAID, NSA. For more information, check out WWW.PCSMASS.com

* According to the 2014 Ponemon Institute Report

** In May 2013, the Ponemon Institute released its 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis (“Ponemon Study”),

Destruction means business!

Reprint: Boston Globe
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

PCS co-owner Lisa Bacewicz with “The Green Monster.”
By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe Correspondent February 15, 2015

Got unwanted high-tech gear laying about, such as old computers, printers, cellphones, and hard drives, and not sure what to do with them? PCS of Massachusetts (PCS MASS), a Weymouth company started in 2005 by Lisa Bacewicz and her husband, Charles, shreds old equipment to recycle the material, and also specializes in data destruction. We talked with Lisa Bacewicz for this story.

Q. Why did you start doing this?

A. We were involved in the resale of old electronic equipment, which was a big industry before 2005. But the industry changed rapidly, and obsolete and surplus equipment doesn’t hold the value it used to. That’s why we went to the next stage of responsible recycling.

Q. What do you do?

A. We’re a certified responsible recycler of all electronic waste, including secure and compliant on-site hard drive and data destruction. We take in e-waste from companies. We bring a shredder on a 26-foot box truck, a big green box we call “The Green Monster.” We take custody of the data and provide a videotaped seven-step destruction process. Anything with encrypted data can be shredded, and we can reduce hard drives to pieces the size of your pinky finger. The metal can be refined into new products. We also have a drop-off at our office for people to drop off office-related waste for free, though there is a charge for computer terminals.

Q. Who are your customers?

A. We work all over New England with hospitals, health care facilities, attorneys, major corporations. Everyone in this day and age with an office will have electronics that eventually become obsolete: phone systems, printers, fax machines, power supplies, cords, batteries. Everything can be destroyed and recycled. Any company with regard for client information or personal information should be reaching out to a certified recycler. Most recently, we earned our R2/RIOS certification from Sustainable Electronics Recycling International.

Q. Why is data destruction important?

A. For years, people lacked understanding of what happens to data on hard drives, tapes, or other memory material. Breaches have brought awareness to the point they’re looking for viable, secure ways to destroy data so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Q. Business is good?

A. Extremely. We’re hiring more people, and by the middle of the year will move to a larger facility on the South Shore.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at pkandarian@ aol.com.

NEWS

AT&T Fined $52 Million for Dumping E-Scrap

Telecommunications giant AT&T has reached a $52 million settlement with the state of California for illegally dumping scrap electronics in state landfills.
The settlement was announced on Nov. 20 by California’s attorney general and was described by state officials as their first e-scrap management enforcement action against a telecom company.

“This settlement holds AT&T accountable for unlawfully dumping electronic waste. The illegal disposal of hazardous waste can lead to serious environmental and health risks for California communities. AT&T will be required to implement strict compliance measures at its facilities that set an example for other companies to safeguard our communities against hazardous waste.” The settlement calls for the company to pay $23.8 million in fines.

Please call PCS MASS to discuss Responsible Electronics/Components Recycling and Secure On-Site Hard Drive Data Destruction Solutions!

PCS MASS is R2:2013 Certified!

R2/RIOS™ certification is solely for electronics recyclers to demonstrate to customers that electronics equipment is being recycled with the highest standards for environmental protection, worker health and safety, and data privacy, and facility security. A facility that has invested R2/RIOS™ certification has upgraded to the highest, most responsible standards in recycling.

Green thought for the day: Spring is a great time to start your businesses Spring cleaning and get organized for Summer. This means clearing out all those old PC’s that have accumulated over the past few months. Please call PCS of MA today to discuss “Green” Recycling Solutions and Secure On-Site Hard Drive Data Destruction services!

News: Certification remains a vital issue at ISRI 2014 Convention

There was one overarching focus at this year’s ISRI Convention held in April: customers seeking electronics recycling services likely will be assured by all potential recyclers that their companies are doing things properly.

According to panelists at a session at the 2014 Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) Convention & Exposition, facility certification provides the necessary verification that can earn the business of these customers.

Lucky for PC Survivors of Mass., we’re on top of every certification we’ll need to do your recycling job properly and safely.

Both panelists at the session were familiar with ISRI’s RIOS (Recycling Industry Operating Standard) certification as well as with R2 (Responsible Recycling Practices) electronics recycling certification as participants whose companies had been through the process. R2/RIOS is one of two focused certification systems available to electronics recyclers. (The other is e-Stewards, created by Seattle-based Basel Action Network [BAN].)

The ISRI 2014 Convention & Exposition was April 6-10 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

If you’re looking for a RELIABLE and RESPONSIBLE 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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05 2014

Safeguarding Data: Shred or delete these financial documents

Jeff Jaffe has a great rundown of what to get rid of this year after your taxes are done. Just call it mid-Spring cleaning. You can check out the full article here at the Enterprise. In addition to shredding documents with sensitive materials and information, Jaffe recommends being as vigilant with your computer files.

While getting rid of or changing electronic data doesn’t have the same visceral thrill of shredding the enemy into little bits, literally, it’s a challenge that most consumers need to take on, particularly in light of the Heartbleed bug, which taught us that threats can be sudden and come from nowhere even if initial scares over how much data is vulnerable might be overblown.

Jaffe says that most people keep too much paperwork/information around mostly because they don’t know what to get rid of and don’t have a plan to trim the excess. He offers up a list of forms and files you should examine when trying to rid your self of clutter.

Tax records:

Unless you’re filing fraudulent returns – for which there is no statute of limitations – reduce income tax returns into several stacks of paperwork

Old tax returns – especially those covering the purchase or sale of property – can be important for compiling future returns, possibly decades into the future. Thus, keeping the return documents in perpetuity is prudent, though not necessary when returns are decades old and several residences in the past; most tax preparers keep copies of your documents for the life of your advisory relationship, so you may have back-up there too.

“Support documents” – the receipts, bills and tax forms on which you based your tax math – must be kept for three years after a return is due. Purge the bulging pile of stuff from the 2010 return (filed in 2011, so the three-year holding period has passed).

Investment papers: Due to rules changes phased in since 2011, brokerage houses now provide cost information on stock purchases, mutual funds, options, bonds and other securities.

Don’t be too quick to shred old trading confirmations, however. Financial-services firms had to establish/maintain records beginning the year the rules went into effect (so 2011 for stocks, 2012 for mutual funds, etc.). Until you know the firm’s records are correct and complete, keep your trade confirmations.

Do, however, shred investment papers you don’t need. Year-end statements show all transactions for the year, allowing you to discard all monthly/quarterly documents except that year-ender.

Pay stubs, bank statements, canceled checks and consumer bills/receipts:

Your last paystub is useful for cross-checking your employer’s tax reporting, getting the value of donations made through payroll deductions and, depending on circumstances, recording the amount of money you paid for health-care coverage; all the rest – provided you got what you are entitled to and there are no disputes with your employer – have no value whatsoever.

Canceled checks today generally are mini images on a bank statement. You don’t need to keep records showing that you bought groceries or made a co-pay at the doctor’s office in 2010 or, worse, 1997. You should have clipped images with tax ramifications, making them part of your support documentation.

Old credit-card statements, utility bills, department-store and service-station charge card bills and the alike also get shredded in most circumstances. Anything covering tax-deductible expenses – like your electric bill if you have an office at home and deduct utility costs – gets treated like a support document.

Documents stored on electronic devices:

The rules here are the same – don’t keep things you don’t need – but also be sure your platform is secure. “A lot of people now use apps where they take pictures of documents with their smart phone and it scans them, and they store the documents, but they still have the pictures on their smart phone,” said Becky Frost, senior manager of consumer education, Experian Consumer Services. “You may not worry about clutter the way you do with paper documents, but you do have to worry about safety and identity theft.”

Passwords:

Consider this spring maintenance rather than “spring cleaning,” but several surveys have shown that at least two-thirds of people never change passwords or use one password for all accounts.

If you’re looking for a RELIABLE and RESPONSIBLE 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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News: What Heartbleed can teach businesses about information security

There’s a great article over at Business Daily looking into the after effects of the Heartbleed bug and what it can teach business about data security.

There can be very few comparisons between historically global IT security incidents and vulnerabilities that come anywhere near to the shadowy, anxiety-provoking spotlight that is now shining firmly on the arena of information security. The impact of the OpenSSL bug known as Heartbleed – made became public on the 7th April 2014 and officially documented as bug CVE-2014-0160 – has reached far and wide since it went public on 7th April 2014. One of the most fundamental backbones of security on the Internet has been dealt a severe confidence blow.

While a lot of the security issues come down to areas of IT, software and coding, proper data destruction is also highlighted as an important area of interest and learning.

One of the most concerning facts revealed through the Heartbleed vulnerability is that it is impossible to detect if a particular service has been attached or exploited. The lack of logs and signs of this intrusion means there is no way of knowing if confidential data has indeed been leaked.

Analysis of the reliance on largely trusted security mechanisms that provide such potential risk to personal data if exposed must be considered, including identification of whether certain data should really only be protected by one layer of security in the first place. While in the case of Heartbleed there is no way of knowing first-hand whether critical data was leaked, responsibility must be in place to ensure proper auditing of personal data.

But in learning the lessons of the Heartbleed fallout, the data destruction should be an authenticated and provable event since as full disclosure when this possible increases confidence levels.

The collective concern of businesses worldwide about never knowing whether their client’s data leaked should foster determination of hardening areas that can be hardened with multiple layers of encryption mechanisms, wherever possible.

We at PC Survivors of Massachusetts can help you with any and all of your data destruction needs. For more information just click here. 

If you’re looking for a RELIABLE and RESPONSIBLE 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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04 2014

Recycling: Will You Be a Part of the Problem or the Solution

There’s a very interesting article over at PC Magazine called ‘ Are You Part of the E-Waste Problem or the Solution?’. Published to commemorate Earth Day (April 22), author Ibrahim Abdul-Matin calls on consumers to find out the specifics of proper recycling practices.

He asks, “what is your relationship to the planet? Do you know where the basic components of the items you use every day come from? Are you aware of the full life cycle of your products? Do you know where your batteries and other toxic materials land when you’re through with them? If you do not, then today, Earth Day, is the day to figure it out.”

Abdul-Matin also asks readers to self evaulate, adding the problem of e-waste isn’t going away anytime soon.

There are those who deny the existence of a problem. Second, there are those who exist in a constant state of fear, bombarding everyone with doomsday scenarios. Third, there are those who recognize a problem and seek to find a solution.

When Earth Day started we were just beginning to understand the power of computing in the popular imagination. Early innovators were fascinated by Moore’s Law. Now, as we inch closer and closer to singularity we have to wonder – how far are we getting from the planet that has traditionally sustained us? The reality is that the tech community is a critical part of the solution – as much as it is part of the problem.

There’s another PC article here, detailing ‘How to Recycle Your Technology.’

The best thing to do with this growing accumulation of old electronic equipment is to donate or recycle it. Donate your old computers and phones whenever you can to groups that will fix and clean them up and then put them back to good use. Even the oldest computer, something you consider the most obsolete of digital dinosaurs, can probably be used by someone.

If you’re looking for a RELIABLE and RESPONSIBLE 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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04 2014

Earth Day 2014 is on April 22

Earth Day is celebrated globally this month and there’s a ton of things you can do to show you care about the earth. Check out the full list of Earth Day pledges you can make here.  Properly recycling your e-waste is also a big part of the green push. Did you know that more than 50 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) is generated each year in the U.S. alone and that only 20-25% of the waste is responsibly recycled?

As a direct consequence, large amounts of hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium leach into our air and water, contaminating our communities. Help end this dangerous practice by pledging to recycle your e-waste in a safe and responsible manner.

If you’re looking for a RELIABLE and RESPONSIBLE 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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