Friday, December 31, 2010

The Hard Disc Drive in the Photocopier

This is a BIG heads up for any company which leases a digital copier and for anybody who has used one. Which is all of us!

Found at Flixxy was this news story from CBS News
Look at
The Danger of Digital Copiers - Who Knew?;lst;2
(The CBS viewer did not play well for me but you may have better luck.)

It reports that most digital copiers since 2002 have built in hard drives which store EVERY page copied onto a hard drive. They bought 4 used copiers and found much sensitive information. Who knew they kept all that? Seems many in the trade did but all point to somebody else have told the end user. One company offers an add-on package to clear the hard drive at a stiff price.

I am wondering why this drive can not be cleared from the top end display any time the user wants to do so for free. Sheesh! Meanwhile, all kinds of personal information about you can be leaked all over the place.

What to do?
1. Careful what you copy at a rental location. Anything personal stays there.

2. Dispose of any copier instead of passing back to the lease company. (Or get them to pull the drive from it before you sign it back.)

[Note on publication date. I was trying to edit the posting date of some other post and this was 'moved'. The program does not seem to tell me when it was first posted so I put it at the end of 2010. Seemed easiest.]

Can you have a double-sided deadbolt on your house?

I really have to start this answer by saying I am writing for where I live and work. Laws differ in other places but the reasoning for some of this shines through regardless of where you live. Also, in this context your house is where you live and own. Sometimes law distinguishes between owning the house and simply renting it.

First, the law. You can not put a double deadbolt* on a fire exit since people must have an easy path out during an emergency. In Canada, this mean a functioning adult or child above sixish can get out of a room or a building without special tools or knowledge. A key is considered a special tool. Also, after the building reaches a certain size and/or expected occupancy, it must have two or more exits.

Second, more law. If you own your home, you can legally do stupid things.

Finally, the practical. If unblocked exits are good in public places in lowering the number of deaths in fires and other emergencies, then exits are also good in a house. Consider other options before you install a double deadbolt such as a metal grill over a window in the door or installing the deadbolt below the handle so an arm thru the broken window could never reach the inside anyways.

However, you MIGHT consider a double deadbolt in some narrow situations. I ask my customers where everybody sleeps and to think of what is the primary exit if a fire happens at night. You would NEVER put a double dead bolt on this door. You may also want to skip a secondary door. However, I have seen houses with a third and fourth door onto a deck or into the garage. (You would not normally exit in a panic via a garage but that really depends on your particular floor plan.)

If you think sealing a door against a broken window attack with a double deadbolt is worth the risk, then you should also be adding a glass break sensor to that window so your alarm response is instant if it gets broken. Another good idea is to hang a key close to the door so if this door must become the tertiary** exit, then it can be opened quickly. The practical viability of doing this depends on the physical and mental condition of the most vulnerable person living in the house.

Some of the NEVER even consider it situations would include:
• Granny uses a walker
• Toddlers live in the house
• Only one door
• It is a solid door
• The key will be stored in the inside cylinder
• No key will be placed permanently near it

As you can tell, I actively discourage such deadbolts. In fact, most of the time it is a matter of telling the client it can not be done due to codes and our client base will find other solutions. I hope you do too unless it truly meets a critical security need. After all, if fire exits are a good idea in other places, you family and friends deserve them also.

*This kind of deadbolt is most formally called a double cylinder deadbolt but it is also called a double sided deadbolt or simply a double deadbolt. Regardless of how you say it, the lock is operated by a key from the outside and also by key from the inside. Only a key holder can open the door.

** It means third.

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Laux Myth ... Thoughts From a Locksmith
By MartinB, Found @