Personal info found on used copier’s hard drive

A recent news report gives businesses a scary reminder: Make sure all info is wiped from hardware before it’s recycled, thrown away or sent back to a leasing agent.

That important step is often taken care of when companies deal with old computers — but it’s easy to forget in the case of scanners and copiers that contain built-in hard drives.

Affinity Health Plan, a New York-based non-profit managed care plan, recently notified 409,000 employees, providers, members and applicants that their personal information may have been breached.

That announcement came after CBS news reported it had found a used copy machine in a warehouse in New Jersey that contained Social Security numbers, birth dates and medical info from Affinity.

Apparently, the potential breach can be blamed on a simple lack of knowledge about the way copiers store data: “Like many organizations across the country, we were not aware copy machines contained hard drives that need to be wiped,” said Abbe Abboa-Offei, Affinity’s senior vice president of Customer & Community Connections, in a press release.

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