Beware of your photocopiers!

Many people don’t know that there are hard drives in many photocopy machines today, especially in any office style photocopier made within the last 5 to 7 years. These hard drives often retain scans of old documents. This matters when an office disposes of an old copier, as it’s been a treasure trove for identity thieves and other busybodies. Whether at the office or at a commercial copy storefront like Kinko’s or Staples, copies of your private documents stored on public machines for an indefinite period has some obvious drawbacks. Here’s an article posted 3 years ago on the topic, and one posted about a week ago — not much has changed.

Current photocopiers can produce copies very rapidly because they scan the page only once and store it digitally on its internal hard disk. It uses that image file to then print copies using similar technology found in laser printers. Indeed, many copiers today can function as a direct printer for your PC (or even e-mail your document directly from the copier) which requires a network connection; this means many units can be addressed remotely and is therefore vulnerable to remote perusal.

For personal and private documents, a personal scanner & printer (at home) might be the wiser choice.