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Hidden hard drives storing your information

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

There are hard drives hidden inside types of electronic equipment that you might not expect.

Public copiers and fax machines you might use out of necessity or in a pinch could have hard drives that store your personal information.

Thankfully, when the good guy researchers pointed this out, some of the fax and copy machine makers have updated their technology to continuously write over old images. 

However, you still need to be aware to make sure you make the right decisions about your documents. 

Cyber expert, Theresa Payton, explains below what you need to know and offers some advice: 

In some, but not all cases, copiers and fax machines have to take a picture of what they are going to process and they store it on an internal data drive.  In some cases, unless you wipe the drive clean, that image is there and can be looked at.

If the company that has your information, could be a doctor's office or even your kids' school, doesn't take steps to wipe the drive clean before they recycle old equipment, your data could end up in the wrong hands.

TIPS:

Good news - many recycle companies know this is an issue and will do the wipe for you before recycling your equipment - but you have to ask.

Some vendors have moved to a process that is like digital shredding - they shred over the document before adding a new one.  It's not fully deleted but harder to retrieve.

Make sure the copier or fax, if connected to WiFi or the internet, isn't "wide open" so that anyone can use it.  If it's "wide open" they might be tech savvy enough to access the hard drive.

Think of a copier and a fax as a computer - it can store, download, and forward any data you put on it.

WORD OF THE WEEK:  HYPERLOOP

This is a hypothetical mode of high speed transportation.  It's consider hyper speed and a semi replacement for high speed trains.  If the concept eventually works, we could travel at speeds of 600-750 mph!  And I'm already worried about the hacking implications of that.

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