Copy Machines – A Dream Come True for Identity Thieves

May 25, 2016 at 11:31 am by SEM

Did you know that copy machines store images onto an internal hard drive? And since most copy machines today are also multifunctional devices that not only copy but are used to scan, email, print and fax documents, the data that is stored is even greater. For identity thieves, those stored images include a treasure chest of personal data, company secrets and proprietary data just waiting to be stolen.

A CBS News story provides evidence of the information still available on old copy machines and how easy it is to access the millions of documents still stored on the hard drive. Most organizations lease their copy machines. Every couple of years, they turn in the old unit and re-lease a new one. But as the old one is leaving the organization, how many times have you asked, what about the stored data on the hard drive?

What to do?

As part of a company or organization’s overall information security plan, all forms of data processing equipment need to be highly scrutinized. When buying or signing a lease for a copy machine or multifunctional device, a plan should be in place on how to control the data stored on the integrated hard drive.

Security Engineered Machinery (SEM) provides a variety of solutions to effectively dispose of end-of-life data that resides on all forms of media. The most effective method to dispose of hard drives is to follow the guidelines of the National Security Agency (NSA) which mandates a two step process of Degaussing the hard drive (sanitizing the data) and physically destroying the device (making it in-operable).

While SEM offers a variety of Degauss and Destroy Bundled Solutions, a perfect solution for most companies is an SEM G1 Bundle that includes a Magnetic Media Degausser (SEM Model EMP-1000) (below left) and a Hard Dive Crusher (SEM Model 0101) (below right).


Identity theft and information security should be a priority in all organizations. Information is everywhere and thieves are doing everything they can to steal it. Companies need to be aware of where it resides and implement pro-active methods to protect it.

In the case of an end-of-lease copier, don’t let the copier dealer remove that machine unless there is a 100% certainty that the internal hard drive is sanitized. The hard drive that is integrated in the copy machine is a standard desktop HDD. Before that copier or multifunctional device leaves your facility, demand that they remove the drive and give it to you so that you control the disposal of the data. If they try to charge you for the drive, an 80 GB hard drive can be purchased for around $30.00 – a price that is far cheaper than the potential damage that can result from the data being stolen.

For more information on effective methods to dispose of hard drives or any form of media, visit

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