Author Elizabeth Wilmot

Security Breaches can be Prevented

Security Breaches can be Prevented

Shredding a hard drive may seem like a petty task, akin to taking out the trash. However, most executives with purchasing power or managerial oversight aren’t used to taking out the trash.

When it comes to hard drives with sensitive data, however, data destruction is not routine trash removal. Hard drives contain high value data with enormous risks for mismanagement. Medical professionals face $250,000 fines and a decade of imprisonment for not destroying sensitive data. Financial institutions are charged penalties of up to $100k for every violation. Failing to shred hard drives endangers the company, institution, or individual who is responsible for protecting data.

If you are involved in your company’s IT or security department, the information you read below could help you to prevent unnecessary loss. This article exposes three real life security breaches that could have been prevented by hard drive shredding.

1. Shred before you sell.

Government offices have a right to sell their used computers, just like anyone else. But do they have a right to sell private data? Obviously not.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened in 2011 when The City of Macon sold used computers, hard drives intact, on These drives contained social security numbers and personal information of city officials. Anyone was able to purchase the computers, leaving such information up for grabs to the highest bidder. It was an identity thief’s dream find.

If the City of Macon had taken the precaution of shredding the hard drives, the data breach would have never happened.

2. Know where the data is.

In January of 2013, a Canadian federal agency wasn’t watching their data very closely. A hard drive that should have been shredded was “lost.” The hard drive contained the names, numbers, DOBs, and contact information of half a million student loan recipients.

Those students may have bigger financial concerns than loan repayments if thieves exploit their personal information. The problem could have been avoided if only the hard drive had been destroyed or they had used a VPN Canada. Online data can have extra protection if a VPN (virtual private network) is put in place. A VPN can encrypt any connections, securing personal data and minimizing any potential data stealing and identity thefts. Sounds like it would have been a good idea in this scenario.

3. Don’t send it in for repairs.

The Veterans Administration Health and Human Services office possesses sensitive information. When the VA’s office failed to destroy a hard drive in need of repair, they accidentally released the personal information of 76 million veterans.

To date, it is the largest data breach in government history. It could have all been sidestepped by shredding the drive.

For every single publicized tragedy, there are ten untold stories of prevention. Data Killers is the premier hard drive shredding company providing prevention against such breaches. Data Killers services almost every government agency and many of the Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller customers across the country. Data Killers provides on-site data destruction services nationwide, offering shred sizes down to 10 mm.

Hard drive shredding, tape shredding, and other data destruction is an indispensable part of a company’s operations. For security professionals who work in government offices, financial institutions, medical agencies, or business firms, data destruction is of paramount importance.

To learn about the need for compliance, and how Data Killers can serve your company or agency, please read about our data destruction services.