The Role of Hardware Destruction in Cyber Security

The data on our myriad of devices — including computers, cell phones, flash drives and SIM cards — must have done something very right because they appear to have been granted eternal life. Seriously. No matter how many how-to articles we read or friends who assure us they “know how to wipe it,” data has a way of coming back to haunt us. The technology and electronics experts at CNET report that, with the right tools, data can be recovered, even after we believe it’s been wiped away.

The ability to restore old data may make the job of prosecutors a little easier in a RICO case and that’s something most of us can live with. What we don’t want to deal with is the way bad guys (and gals) can mine private information about us simply by having access to any one of our devices.

Who among us wants someone else to know the passwords to every online site we visit or, for that matter, which online sites we visit? Who wants to expose the names and phone numbers of their friends, family and business associates? Who wants to share photos and videos that were meant to be private?

With so little privacy in this world already, the least we can do is protect our personal and business information from those who would try to exploit it for their own gains. Like Jimi Hendrix and his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival, the only answer is destruction — the total and complete destruction of all that information-rich hardware.

What we do is take all those outdated electronics — like iPads, cell phones and computers — and pulverize them. By the time we’re done, they are literally laid to waste and no one, no matter how talented, could possibly access the information contained within. Magnetic tapes, CDs, DVDs, SIM cards, old floppy discs and hard drives — we render them useless. We accomplish this by using state-of-the art equipment to shred the items and turn them in nothing more than scrap metal. And in order to be environmentally responsible, the scrap metal is then recycled and used to produce other products rather than end up in a landfill.

If you’re considering having your old hardware destroyed, there are two more things you should know. The first is that we are a trusted member of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), meaning you can trust us to follow the strictest possible standards. And finally, our mobile shredding unit makes it possible for you to witness the entire process from start to finish.

Although we are proud of our services, the most important thing we offer you is peace of mind. You will never have to worry that someone has access to your information who should not have it. Visit www.TristarShredding.com for more information or contact us today and let us help you keep your private life private.

What Documents Should I Shred?

Most people know the importance of shredding documents that contain sensitive information, but some documents you need to hang on to for future reference. So the question is, how long should you hold on to a document before you shred it? The infographic below, care of the Federal Trade Commission, is a guide to help you know when to store a document and when to shred it.

When you’re ready to shred those documents give us a call – you can do a one time walk-in drop off at our physical location:

Tristar Document Shredding
500 North Loop 336 East, Suite 106 – 107
Conroe, TX 77301
Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm, and Saturday by appointment only

OR you can schedule a mobile service to come to you and pick it up. We provide commercial, community and residential document shredding services. Our mobile shredding unit comes directly to your location allowing you to monitor the shredding process as it happens. There is no need to remove rubber bands, staples, or binder clips. Our shredders handle it all in one simple operation.

Contact us today to get a free quote or to schedule a service.

 

 

 

Why Shredding Old Devices is a Must!

Christmas has come and gone, and with it we know a big wave of smart phones have been replaced with newer, more high tech models.

Cell phones are involved in every aspect of our lives nowadays: we use them as phones, GPS devices, portable computers, and more. Whether you realize it or not, your phone has sensitive information stored on it. Smart phones store all of our usernames and passwords. They have direct access to our bank accounts. They have email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and pictures of our families and friends.

While we all love getting new devices, it’s important to remember that there is a proper way to dispose of the old devices we no longer use. Having used mobile devices shredded is the only 100% guaranteed way to wipe the stored memory from that device.

Just in case you need convincing, here are 5 reasons to shred your old devices:

  • Restoring your phone to factory settings doesn’t always work. Research was conducted by a team at Cambridge University and their research study found that 80% of the time authentication tokens, which are essentially an electronic key to access confidential accounts and information, were able to be recovered from the devices that had been restored to factory settings. So 80% of the time they were able to access the confidential information of the previous owner that had been “wiped clean” from the phone.
  • The SIM card is not the only part of the phone that stores information. If you remove the SIM card from your device, that does not remove all the stored information within your phone. Just like the phones in the Cambridge research study, all devices have internal components that store information — whether they have a SIM card or not. Removing the SIM card will remove the information stored on the SIM card, but not the information that is stored in your device internally.
  • Destroying it is not enough. You can run any device over with a car or crush it with a hammer, and that STILL doesn’t guarantee that all the right memory chips and internal components that store information have been correctly and totally destroyed. The only guaranteed way to wipe information from a phone is by having a professional shred it.
  • A little information goes a long way. As technology evolves and gets smarter, so do the thieves and hackers. Oftentimes, all they need is one tiny piece of information in order to unlock the door that leads to much more crucial information.
  • Your whole life is on your phone. From emails to bank accounts to photos of loved ones — every little detail about you is stored on your phone. That is reason enough to want to make sure the information on your phone is destroyed properly, by a professional, to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

If the information on your personal device is recovered and stolen it could create numerous problems for you, including identity theft and fraudulent bank account activity. We take precautions with other sensitive information – for example, we don’t just throw away papers with our social security numbers and bank account information – so why aren’t we more cautious with that same information in digital format?

Do your research and you’ll find that data destruction and e-waste recycling are the only safe ways to dispose of your devices. When you’re ready for an expert to take those old devices off your hands and destroy them safely, give us a call at 936-788-4733 or visit our website to get a free quote.

 

Hard Drive Shredding

hard drive shreddingThe time for a technology upgrade has arrived, and with it, the opportunity to dispose of old hard drives. Former drives may seem useless, but they’re surprisingly valuable; they could provide unauthorized individuals with a treasure trove of information.

In the wrong hands, old hard drives offer easy access to Social Security numbers, credit card information and other data that could compromise you and your business. Although a valuable first step, wiping your drive is not good enough — today’s advanced technology allows for easy recovery.

Your best bet? Hard drive shredding. By physically destroying your hard drive, you remove all possibility of a security breach.

Why Is Hard Drive Shredding Important?

Regular upgrades are essential these days, given the staggering pace of technological change. Unfortunately, updates take more work than merely researching and investing in new devices. You’ll need a detailed plan for your hard drives, which could otherwise pose a major security risk.

Many individuals and businesses attempt to prevent security breaches by wiping, reformatting or degaussing old hard drives. Although valuable, these methods still leave hard drives vulnerable, as data from improperly handled drives can easily be accessed.

Hard drive shredding eliminates this opportunity by physically destroying vulnerable data. Data wiping and degaussing simply cannot provide the 100-percent guarantee of data destruction that accompanies professional hard drive shredding.

How It Works

Those truly committed to taking full security precautions should precede physical hard drive destruction with degaussing. Although ineffective on its own, this method produces excellent results when combined with shredding.

During the data-destruction process, a shredder physically tears old hard drives into miniscule pieces. Not only does this process shred the material until it can no longer be recovered, it also compacts the drive — making data recovery virtually impossible.

Targeted Devices

Although typically associated with personal computers, hard drive shredding protects against data acquisition from a variety of devices. Laptop computers and HDD-based tablets require shredding, as the hard drives associated with these devices typically contain sensitive information. Portable hard drives attached to iPhones and other mobile devices may also require shredding services. Shredding could even prove necessary for printers, as advanced laser printers and many multifunction printers and copiers have hard drives.

Far too many businesses and individuals fail to destroy hard drive data properly through a professional shredding service. Don’t leave your information vulnerable to security breaches; invest in complete data destruction via hard drive shredding.

The Cure for a Messy Office

Messy office? Tristar Document Shredding can help! We offer mobile services, as well as walk in/drop-off shredding services. Schedule a one-time shredding service, or a regularly scheduled mobile service. If you have a large volume of documents cluttering your office, ask us about our purge services to help free up some valuable office space. We can shred anything – documents, hard drives, electronics, old cell phones, license plates, and more – you name it, we can shred it!

Water Damaged Documents

Whether your washer leaks or the basement floods, water damage can cause a lot of problems in both residential homes and commercial buildings. While water damage is bad no matter what the source is, a natural disaster – like Hurricane Harvey – can cause even bigger problems. If your personal documents at home were ruined or your business is now staring at mountains of soggy papers, you may be wondering what to do with those papers. You may ask yourself if it’s possible to recycle or shred wet paper. Once a paper experiences water damage, you, unfortunately, may have no choice but to recycle it.

What to do if your documents were damaged by water?

Regardless of what you choose to do with your papers (salvage, shred, or recycle), it is important to act quickly to prevent mold and mildew growth.

  1. Assess the situation: What documents were affected? If the documents were soaked to the point of being unidentifiable, try to make a list of papers you know are affected. This will help greatly if you need to request replacement documents. Additionally, decide if any papers are salvageable.
  2. Discard boxes: If your documents were stored in cardboard boxes, carefully remove the papers and destroy the boxes.  Even if you dry the cardboard boxes, they are not safe to reuse. A word of caution when lifting boxes: the bottom of wet boxes tend to disintegrate and give way easily.  It’s best to remove the papers before attempting to lift the box.
  3. Dry your documents papers: It might seem pointless to dry a document that you intend on shredding, but this an important step for two reasons.  First and most importantly, drying your documents (along with any wet possessions) helps stop the growth of mildew and mold. If you were evacuated and returned home, it’s not unlikely to find mildew starting to grow. Second, soggy papers can begin to disintegrate and form a ball, clogging the shredder. Dry papers are much easier to shred.

How do I dry my papers?

Drying your papers and removing water from your home can be done.  The key is to lower the humidity levels and have constant air movement such as open windows and oscillating fans. Do not attempt to dry stacks of papers; rather, lay out each individual paper on a clean, dry surface. Flip the papers over as necessary to ensure that both sides are drying.

Why should I shred papers that are partially illegible?

Even if you cannot read an entire document, sensitive information may still be legible. For that reason, shredding is a secure way to make sure all of your personal information is kept private.  Additionally, if your business was flooded, you may have documents that you are not legally allowed to toss in the garbage; some types of documents, like healthcare records, must always be shredded.  Tristar will always issue a Certificate of Destruction as proof that you have complied with any legal obligations to destroy records.

Do I have to remove the fasteners?

Unlike small office shredders, Tristar shredders can easily tackle staples and binder clips which saves you time from removing those items from piles of wet documents.

If you have documents damaged by flood waters, contact us for a  free quote.

Federal Regulations for Shredding Hard-Drive Data

man shredding paper

Contrary to what most people know, complete data destruction is more than simple deletion of files and clearing the recycle bin in a computer. While the data may not be visible, it is still accessible on your hard drive and vulnerable to misuse by other parties. With this in mind, the IRS has established regulations that ensure 100% safe data destruction.

The IRS Publication 1075 Media Sanitation clearly explains that all organizations, whether international or local, are expected to follow the established guidelines for securing and eliminating Federal tax return and return information (FTI) they receive from the IRS. Once an agency is no longer in need of information it has received from the IRS, it may take steps to return the information or simply destroy the information.

The Approaches Used when Dealing with Hard Drives

There are various approaches to be considered when dealing with hard drives. They include:

a)    Overwriting the Drive

An agency may decide to overwrite the drive through the use of special software. There are several versions of this software available in the market, and selecting a proper one may be challenging. One overwrite is not enough, therefore, making this process time-consuming.

b)   Degaussing the Drive

This process involves the elimination of the magnetic field. However, the use of degaussers requires that the instructions be followed to the letter. Fortunately, the NSA/CSS has evaluated and published a list of degaussers and given information on the drives each model can erase.

c)    Physical Destruction of the Drive

The hard drive can be crushed, disintegrated or shredded. Agencies may choose to erase data through overwriting or degaussing, then crush, disintegrate or shred them. However, purchasing the equipment required for these processes is expensive for most agencies. Outsourcing, is, therefore, a viable solution for agencies. Approved data-destruction service providers will easily collect, reuse and recycle hard drives.

To maintain confidentiality, verification of the selected information sanitization and the selected disposal process is required. Usually, a sample a sample of the media is tested for sanitization to assure the agency of complete protection. Additionally, agencies should document the sanitization of the media for later reference.

Tristar Document Shredding

Tristar Document Shredding is a verified data-destruction company based in Texas. We offer complete, effortless and efficient data-destruction services to residents, communities and commercial entities. With state-of-the-art technology and mobile services across the state, we are easily accessible and promise 100% secure data destruction.

Shredding of hard drives through approved means is the easiest way of erasing data completely. During the destruction process, agencies select an individual to witness the process. The process is expected to be eco-friendly because the circuit boards in hard drives contain metals that are hazardous and toxic when released into the environment.

We easily remove hard drives and servers from heavy-duty commercial equipment and turn them into scrap metal. With our reuse, reduce and recycle policy, we ensure that all the hard drives entrusted to us are destroyed in an eco-friendly manner that is approved by relevant laws.

Clients are assured of our competence as we are a trusted member of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). We ensure that all the hard drives handed to us are secured and that information is not leaked. Our services are quick, efficient and easily available to all citizens of Texas. Contact Tristar Shredding through our website for excellent hard-drive shredding services.

Mobile Shredding Demonstration

Mobile shredding is an easy, fast and safe way to dispose of documents that hold sensitive information. But do you know how easy it is? Hint: It takes two minutes, and zero effort from you! Check out the video below to see what one of our regularly scheduled shredding services looks like.

Our mobile shredding unit comes directly to your location allowing you to monitor the shredding process as it happens. You can schedule weekly, semi-monthly or monthly shredding, although we offer one-time shreds and/or annual purges as well. Our services are charged by the container, box or pound; there are no hidden charges or add-ons.

We don’t just shred paper we can shred almost anything; Materials including hard drives, magnetic tapes, CD’s, floppy discs and more. There is no need to remove rubber bands, staples, or binder clips from your documents beforehand. Our shredders handle it all in one simple operation.

At Tristar Document Shredding our number one priority is YOU. We can tailor our services to suit your needs and ensure a smooth, 100% secure service every time.
Contact us today for more information, pricing or to schedule your first service.