Tue Dec 4 17:17:30 2007

Unexpected Confidential Data Leaks

Every serious business office on earth needs a FAX machine. Why I have to have a special hardware that's nothing else than a 14400 baud modem, scanner, printer, ISDN and TIFF conversion software in one box still escapes me. However, FAX machines definitively crash not as often as servers, especially FAX servers.

Since Recurity Labs is a small company, we have a small FAX machine. It is one of those that work with thermo paper on a roll, a so-called thermo transfer ribbon. And since Recurity Labs has some significant dealings with layers lately, and lawyers love FAX, our FAX machine complained that the ribbon was used up. So we got a new one.

Being a good German and always caring about waste separation, I wondered about what to do with the old ribbon when I took it out. The regular lists of things to separate don't contain thermo transfer ribbons, so I inspected the foil to see if it would potentially qualify as plastic. To my mild surprise, I found negative copies of all the papers that were faxed to us during the time of use. The quality of what's left on the ribbon after the thermo transfer is impressive, very high definition, almost like film.

the dataleak

Now I wonder how many secretaries, legal departments, accounting departments and everyone else with the need for a separate desktop FAX machine (confidentiality, you know) discard used ribbons, either environmentally correctly or not, without a second thought about the content. We decided to just keep them around in a safe place and call them backups.

Posted by FX | Permanent link | File under: discoveries