Monthly Archives: April 2010

Digital Photocopier Hard Drive Encryption and DOD

Reference CBS Investigation

In the report CBS using a photocopier expert purchased four machines from a used copier warehouse. Then using a forensic software program available free on the internet they were able to download hundreds of images including police records, payslips, social security numbers from the hard drives of the digital copiers.

One thing to remember is that encryption on photocopiers has improved with information on hard drives now encrypted by default. Most modern digital copiers support (IIO) immediate image overwrite or (ODIO) on demand image overwrite that will effectively delete saved images. Samsung’s latest digital copiers overwrite hard drive data three times in compliance with United States Department of Defense (DoD) directive 5200.28- M. This prevents forensic software from extracting usefull information. Xerox say there image overwrite feature is available on most of there digital copiers and this electronically shreds information.(Xerox Securty Information). Sharp also offer a security kit that encrypts data on the hard drive and shreds stored information.

Most manufacturers offer security software to remove data. The service technician can use the copier service mode to erase and reformat the hard drive. This option is available free of charge and can be carried out by your service technician at the end of the copiers life. Third party data removal tools do exist one such is INFOSWEEP (Copier Security ). Which incidently is offered by the same company that CBS used in its report to gain sensetive information from old copier hard drives.

Manufacturers have been extremely casual about security of hard drives. One important thing to consider is the obligations of companies and organisations to conform to the Data Protection Act. This act expressly requires that personal data be protected against unauthorised access by appropriate technical measures. The manufacturer may have a legal obligation to provide companies with the neccessary tools service and advice to protect data thats stored on hard drives from theft and this should be done free of charge.

In cases where the organisation or company need to conform to the DoD directive and software is not available to delete hard drive information then there is no alternative but to remove the hard drive at the end of the lease. Xerox has become one of the first manufacturers to publicly offer hard drive removal at the end of the copiers life.


Secure Your Photocopier Prevent Data Identity Theft and Hard Drive Exposure

The security threat of digital photocopiers is worse than reported

Resource:CBS Report Into Security of Photocopiers have been aware of the security threat posed by ┬ádigital photocopiers for many years and carry out a full data wipe on all machines before they are resold. Jenny Robinson of Online Connect UK says “we are pleased this issue has been brought to the attention of consumers by CBS as we have been protecting our customers data but are aware this is not common practice”.

However, the risk to Corporate Intelligence and sensitive information is understated in the CBS report according to Online Connect UK. The problem goes back to the photocopier industry as a whole. When digital photocopiers came in there was a complete lack of training in security and the problem goes beyond hard drives. Online Connect share some tips on securing your photocopier at the end of its life.

Identity Theft

Avoid copying sensitive information on public photocopiers. The information could be retreived from the hard drive.

Hard Drives

Hard Drives are packed full of sensitive information. From incoming faxes, id protected print jobs to frequently used files. Multifunctional digital copiers have a data encryption facility and hard disk data encryption should be enabled. Additionally Secure Document Release retains the document until identity is verified via a PIN, password.

Delete all information on hard drive at end of copiers life.

The Print Server

The first digital photocopiers used print servers and IT Departments were aware of the information stored. Fiery Servers and Cyclone served as the connection between the digital photocopier and the network and for many high volume or colour photocopiers still do. But with modern digital photocopiers often the print server is embedded in the machine and it is the print server part of the machine that may hold the most vital information. In a remote print server like fiery or cyclone it will contain a copy of the print job on its internal hard drive so enable encryption an wipe hard drive of the print server at the end of the copier cycle of life.

Often large Companies route all print requests through a central server, this allows data archiving to be achieved efficiently and the central server may be remote. In such cases the digital copier can contain network addresses of the companies central server including subnet mask, ipaddress and passwords.

The Print Server should be cleared of all information at the end of the copiers life.


The machine may hold data on individual workstations and passwords. Machines with scan to email will hold private email addresses of individuals within the corparation or organisation.

All scanner and email information should be removed.

Print Queue

Often held in the RAM of the machine pending print jobs can contain sensitive information. Often the digital copier is replaced due to unreliability and by simply clearing a paper jam the machine can start printing out a wealth of information.

Clear all pending print jobs.


A list of fax numbers transmission times dates and received documents may be stored on a multifunction photocopier.

Delete all fax information at the end of copiers life.


Machines set up for multiple user accounts will have common passwords stored. Unfortunately these passwords may be used in other areas of the business. A print out of photocopier passwords could lead to a more serious threat to security if passwords are used elsewhere within the organisation.

All passwords should be removed at the end of the photocopiers life.

Many used photocopiers are destined for india, africa and the middle east and it is important to ensure secure information is removed from the machine.

If you have concerns about security of your office equipment you can find Online Connect contact details on there website: