News Articles

Data DestructionImagine it, you purchased a computer on eBay, plug it in, and find top secret missle defense secrets. What would you do? This is the situation a research group at Longwood University found themselves in after purchasing a used hard drive from the popular auction site.

This hard drive reportedly contained files from Lockheed Martin, a large US military contractor. The data recovered included: test launch procedures for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ground-to-air missile defense system, security policies, blueprints of facilities and social security numbers for individual employees.

A representative from Lockheed Martin is quoted in the article as saying:

Lockheed Martin is not aware of any compromise of data related to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program. Until Lockheed Martin can evaluate the hard drive in question, it is not possible to comment further on its potential contents or source.

Fortunately, this drive as purchased as part of a controlled study to see what information could be recovered from used hard drives and did not fall into the wrong hands. The study also uncovered other sensitive information including bank account details, medical records, confidential business plans, financial company data, personal id numbers, and job descriptions.

The drives were bought from the UK, America, Germany, France and Australia by BT’s Security Research Centre in collaboration with the University of Glamorgan in Wales, Edith Cowan University in Australia and Longwood University in the US.

A spokesman for the project said they found 34 per cent of the hard disks scrutinized contained ‘information of either personal data that could be identified to an individual or commercial data identifying a company or organization.’

Even though the information in this case did not fall into the wrong hands, this story illustrates the importance of having a controlled data destruction process in every organization. Ask yourself this: can you track every computer, every hard drive after it is pulled from production? Do you know for a fact that every hard drive is wiped or destroyed? If you cannot answer yes to both questions, you owe it to yourself to work with a vendor that can fill this gap.

A hat tip to ExportLawBlog for their analysis of the incident.

Recent research, from Regenersis, suggzombie-phone1ests that close to 100% of all cell phones disposed of contain information that could be brought back to life.

If not removed, all those pictures from Cancun… all the music you’ve downloaded… and yes, all those text messages to your mother can be retrieved! So next time you upgrade to the latest and greatest smart phone, make sure you dust off the manual for the old one and take the time to run through the steps to perform a complete reset of the unit.

On the other hand, you could also take it to a company, such as EPC, who will completely shred the unit to help protect any overlooked data within.

Choose to Reuse

House Democrats recently re-introduced a bill that would impose a $0.05 fee on all single-use plasic bags. The fee would take effect January 1st, 2010 and actually be increased to $0.25 in 2015.

This would really make reusable grocery bags an absolute no-brainer for everyone. You can pick them up at your local grocery store, or Wal-Mart, for about a buck, or even summon the Martha Stewart in you (pre chain gang) and make your own!

However, if you do end up using a plastic bag, please remember to drop them off at your local grocery. Almost all provide a recycling solution.

twitter_fail_whale

  • Seesmic Desktop Beta available: Thanks to the great video podcast, Tekzilla, I found a great twitter client in the style of TweetDeck that improves on the original in several ways. You have to sign up for their mailing list to be added to the beta test, but it is completely worth it.
  • Hack Twitter, Get a Job? The teenage hacker that recently published a few twitter worms was hired by exqSoft, a web application developer. Says the exqSoft CEO: “Any publicity is good publicity.”
  • The Pirate Bay found guilty: In a decision that will likely have legal implications far outside their native Sweden, the admins of The Pirate Bay were found guilty of ‘assisting in making copyright content available’ and were fined $3.6 million and sentenced to 1 year in jail. Not so fast – this verdict will definitely be appealled.
  • Stanford to offer free iPhone app development courses: If you have always wanted to learn how to make an app for the current hotness, Apple and Stanford want you!

apple-clock-aNow this is a pretty cool form of computer recycling: WebUrbanist has a new image gallery of 20 examples of art made from old technology. The examples presented utilize typewriters, old cassette tapes, phones, keys from keyboards, computer cases and more. See how many different pieces you can recognize!

My favorites are the Jimmy Hendrix portrait from a cassette tape, the giant robot (a.k.a. WEEE Man) and the model T-Rex.

20 Amazing Examples of Art from Obsolete Technology – WebUrbanist

All proceeds go to local food banksIn celebration of Earth Day, EPC will be donating all public recycling fees to a local food bank. There is a $5 per item charge for EPC to recycle your old computers and electronics. But from April 18th – 26th, EPC will be donating those fees to a local food bank. Additionally, individuals can donate 5 canned good items and EPC will waive the $5 fee, and include those canned goods in the donation. Bring in those old electronic items you’ve been meaning to get rid of and take this opportunity to help the environment and the community.

St Louis CardinalsThe grass in Busch Stadium isn’t the only thing green this baseball season. Now in its second season, the St. Louis Cardinals’ “For a Greener Game” campaign continues to recycle the trash that fans leave behind in the stands. Last season, stadium employees collected and recycled 220 tons of cardboard, paper, aluminum and plastic that, in past seasons, would’ve ended up in a landfill.

In a further effort to contribute to the local community, the “For a Greener Game” initiative has joined with the St. Patrick Center in order to help homeless St. Louisans find meaningful and gainful employment.

In addition to the season-long recycling efforts, there are a couple of games that are specifically dedicated to going green. Those games are on Earth Day, 4/22 and World Environment Day, 6/5, and include discounted tickets, an environmental expo and a “For a Greener Game” organic tee shirt.
Go Redbirds! Go Green!

Lifehacker - Build an under-the-cabinet pc using an old laptop

Lifehacker is on a laptop recycling kick recently. Last week they showed us how to make a digital photo frame out of your old laptop. This week it is building your own under-the cabinet kitchen PC. Fashioned out of an old dell laptop, some coat hangers, and Puppy Linux, this DIY project looks like it would work great for checking the weather, listening to some internet radio, or looking up some recipies online. Man, what I wouldn’t give for a touch screen interface and software keyboard though.

If you are looking for more ideas on what do to with your old computer, check out these posts:

A study conducted by Australian scientists found that employees who participate in “workplace Internet leisure browsing” (WILB) are actually more productive than their coworkers who do not. We’re not talking about those who have Internet addictions and spend the majority of their work time online. Rather, this applies to employees who spent less than 20% of their time at work surfing the Internet and using social media sites. Whether it was due to the temporary and brief distraction or if there are other factors involved, the study found that those WILBers were 9% more productive than their co-workers who are not taking those leisurely breaks. While you’re WILBing today, check out the article for more details, Twitter about it, and then get back to being your productive self.

This Saturday, Josh & Dan are headed to Texas in DDRV 2. They’ll be heading through several major cities from St. Louis, including Oklahoma City, San Marcos and Austin, Texas, shredding thousands of hard drives as they go. It’s always an adventure with these two, so I’m looking forward to hearing what Josh will Twitter about.