02:21 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell

Recycled Storage Media Includes Confidential Data

We've said it before and often: if it's ever held data, don't throw it away no matter how sure you are it's been wiped clean. Now there's evidence that you shouldn't recycle old media either.

We've said it before and often: if it's ever held data, don't throw it away no matter how sure you are it's been wiped clean. Now there's evidence that you shouldn't recycle old media either.Imation, which makes storage tapes, has announced findings that indicate what many have long suspected: there's next to no way to remove all data from a tape (or other medium.)

Which makes re-using the tapes nearly as problematic as throwing them away. (And in most ways more problematic: recycled media remains in use and accessible; at least materials thrown in the trash have a chance of clogging our landfills instead of being mined for unerased data.)

Imation's case rests on the sheer capacity of modern backup media: if even a fraction of a percent of the material on a half-terabyte tape persists after "cleaning," that's multi-megabyte confidential business or personal information headache (or worse) waiting to happen.

The company purchased an assortment of recycled (and supposedly wiped) tapes from the recycled media market, tested them, and found everything from hospital patient records to bank audit information, credit card numbers and more.

Just as Maxell's Halloween backup promotion covered here yesterday recommended using only pristine media, Imation is in the storage media business: both companies are doing business.

But both are also making sound recommendations about storage media re-use, recycling and disposal.

The most dramatic reminder of the persistence of data is also the saddest: a hard disk recovered from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster yielded readable information.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cybersecurity Must Be an International Effort
Kelly Sheridan, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  12/6/2017
NIST Releases New Cybersecurity Framework Draft
Jai Vijayan, Freelance writer,  12/6/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Managing Cyber-Risk
An online breach could have a huge impact on your organization. Here are some strategies for measuring and managing that risk.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.