Posts Tagged ‘data destruction’

Four Tips to Protect your Data

Data breaches from cyber attacks are all over the news today. Although these types of security breaches are becoming more common, and more devastating, to the organizations and people involved, there is another kind of breach that is just as alarming.

Often times, informal transportation or improper storage of end-of-life electronics are the culprit. In untrained hands, sensitive information can be leaked, stolen or lost on the way to recycling centers or can be forgotten in dusty storage areas.

Consumers and businesses alike should be aware that electronic waste that is not disposed of properly poses a threat to sensitive data left on the devices. Finding a responsible electronics recycler will eliminate the risk of data breaches and grant the much-needed peace of mind that companies and individuals need.

Implementing a positive plan to combat electronic waste data breaches is the only realistic way to ensure that sensitive information remains safeguarded for end-of-life electronics.

Here are four tips to protect the valuable data contained on devices within your home, organization or business:

1. Get the best third party data destruction provider available

Laws and regulations ban dumping e-Waste into landfills and require specific methods for collection and disposal based on government guidelines.

When electronics devices reach end-of-life or are no longer wanted, relying on disposal plans managed by employees and staff for data destruction and e-Waste disposal is not effective, and leaves companies open to liability for breaches.

Instead, rely on a responsible R2/RIOS certified company with secure measures in place to handle the proper recycling of e-Waste and secure destruction of the information on hard drives and other data devices.

2. Avoid long-term storage of end-of-life devices

Long-term storage can increase the risk of loss or theft, which leads to serious data breaches. In fact, many data breach cases are the result of computers left to sit in off-site storage facilities with little or no regulation or supervision of the information contained on hard drives and storage devices.

Rather than choosing to place end-of-life devices in storage, creating an electronic waste disposal plan is the better choice. The plan should ensure that storage time is minimal or completely eliminated, thereby decreasing the risk of theft, loss or inadvertent exposure of sensitive information.

3. Know the laws on data destruction

Here in the U.S., most states with electronic recycling laws also require vendors to follow government regulations to ensure that consumer information remains safe. It is important to be aware of which guidelines apply to your organization and to organize an electronic waste disposal plan around them.

4) The best tip of all is too choose a responsible, certified electronics recycler who provides secure data destruction. This is the most effective way to ensure proper management and secure destruction of sensitive information contained on the hard drives of electronic drives.

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”),

E-Waste not want not

Are old computers, monitors and power supplies piling up around you? Now is the time to PROPERLY get rid of ALL the old electronics hanging around your place of work. PC Survivors of Massachusetts, LLC (PCS MASS) is your one-stop shop for the responsible disposal of everything electronic.

Why can’t you just throw it all out on the curb, toss in the dumpster or go to the dump? Quite simply, improper disposal of e-waste (electronics waste) is illegal and a danger to the environment. “But it’s just a cell phone/battery/hard drive/etc.” you may ask. “Maybe if I hide it in a trash bag and toss, nobody will notice?” You can be well assured our Earth will notice. As will the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when they serve you up a severe fine.

Actually the materials inside of electrical devices can be a danger if not securely disposed. Imagine a land-fill chock full of e-waste where they will eventually release pollutants like nickel, lead, cadmium and mercury into our air, ground water and soil. Think of children brushing there teeth with this water – yuck – and extremely health hazardous. How about the fresh produce we eat and the grass-fed beef we consume? Think of the soil from which plants sprout. The long-term effects are scary.

Equally, if not more frightening, according to the EPA Americans disposed of 3,420,000 TONS of e-waste in 2012 (most recent year there is data).

E-waste is defined as any discarded electronic/electrical device (computers, cell phones, televisions, medical equipment, etc.), and is the fastest growing sector of waste in the United States.

Everybody needs to do their part and REUSE, RECOVER and RECYCLE! PCS MASS is one of the few RIOS/R2* certified recyclers in New England who are compliant with state and federal regulators such as NSA*, NIST*, DoD* and HIPPA*. What exactly do all these acronyms mean? Quite simply, they mean that PCS MASS upholds the highest standards for responsible electronics recycling. (If you like to translate acronyms – see below *)

What sets PCS MASS apart from other companies who also recycle e-waste, is that we are certified to ALSO PROVIDE SECURE on-site and off-site DATA DESTRUCTION; regulated by these same mandates.

There are several simple choices as to how to dispose of your e-waste. If you are in New England, first call PCS MASS 1-844-514-5093 or check out our website www.pcsmass.com. PCS MASS has large trucks that will come to your office, hospital, building, lab and safely pick up your e-waste. Or you can call first and schedule to drop it at our warehouse in Weymouth, MA. Every item will be documented and you will receive certification of secure disposal.

Here is a partial list of e-waste that is most-likely accumulating in your office now!

PCs/Laptops/Notebooks/Tablets
Servers/Server Racks/Network Equipment
Hard Drives/DLT Tape/Memory Chips/Circuit Cards
LCD Monitors
Cell Phones/Cameras/CD,DVD, VHS Players
Printers/Faxes/Copiers
Batteries/UPS
Keyboards/Mice/Cords/Cables
POS Equipment
Medical/Lab/Dental Equipment
Plus much more-(see www.pcsmass.com for a complete list)

If everyone puts forth a little extra effort and responsibly disposes of e-waste, we can use the almost 3.5 million tons of space currently taken up year over year, by this needless waste – for something good. How about organic farms? Parks? E-Waste in our landfills – NOT!

* Acronyms:
RIOS/R2: Responsible Industry Operating Standard/Recycle and Reuse
NSA: National Security Agency
NIST:National Institute of Standards and Technology
DoD: Department of Defense
HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

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!

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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04 2014

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

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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04 2014

News: How Do U.S. Computers End Up in Ghana

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the U.S. produces 300 million tons of electronic waste annually, according to an RT.com video.  Americans frequently upgrade their TVs, cell phones, computers and other electronic devices. About 80 percent of that ends up in domestic landfills or is recycled overseas, according to the report.

Disposing of e-waste legally and responsibly has been a political and a practical headache for years and a growing appetite for electronics around the world is only fueling the problem.

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

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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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

 

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