The negative effects of e-waste

Computer in the Water
Computer in the Water

Understanding the Negative Effects of e-waste on the Environment


Akooba is taking a quick break from discussing our services to let you know steps we can take to improve the environment.

Electronics recycling ensures electronics are being disposed properly to protect the environment from contaminants such as pollution. According to EcoMENA, more than 50 million tons of e-waste is generated every year and finding its way to landfills and dumpsites. Improperly handling electronics can create health hazards by polluting the air and streams due to the toxic materials that make up the components of electronic devices. Some of these materials can include lead, mercury, arsenic, and barium, among others. Thus, it is important to work with electronic recyclers to ensure electronics are properly handled when disposed.

Corporate Social Responsibility is seen as an added boost to a company's business. The environment is one of the top primary efforts considered both good for a company and society as a whole. Disregarding their commitment to the environment, AT&T had to pay $52 million dollars for unlawfully dumping electronic waste in California. In an article written by Reuters, “Investigators cited AT&T for illegally disposing of hazardous wastes and other materials at more than 235 of its warehouses and dispatch centers across the state over a nine-year period”. Not only did AT&T admit no wrongdoing, but they also left e-waste at the dump sites, ignoring materials that could be damaging to public health.

It is important to research safe electronic recycling facilities that carry out the best laws and practices when handling material. Because of the high domestic costs, some companies will send electronics overseas to take advantage of cheaper disposal methods. However, this is often illegal and can sometimes cost an electronics recycling company more in fines than if they would have followed the right procedures. Total Reclaim, a Seattle-based company, acknowledged that it failed to live up to its e-Stewards certification after a watchdog group uncovered e-waste that was sent to undocumented processing facilities in Hong Kong. The company was fined $444,000 as a result of this finding.

Some companies will send their e-waste to China because it is cheaper to break down in a less regulated environment that does not adhere to strict guidelines and certifications. When e-waste is transported, the hazardous materials can still be exposed. These materials can have drastic effects on the local communities, including pollution, contamination, and diseases including cancer.

Recognizing that China is a huge contributor to illegal electronic recycling, China General Administration of Customs announced a one-year campaign to target “foreign waste”, including plastics, industrial waste, electronics and other household materials. One particularly affected region is Guiyu, also known as China’s Electronic Waste Village, believed to have dismantled 1.5 million pounds of junked electronics according to estimates from years ago.

At Akooba, we welcome all of our current and prospective clients to inspect and audit our system of waste disposal. For this, we have a Zero-Landfill Policy using environmentally responsible methods of electronic recycling. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Eco-friendly and environmentally responsible
  • Creates high quality refurbished electronics
  • No e-waste goes to a landfill or is exported overseas to non-OECD Countries
  • Extracts all possible value out of discarded assets
  • Recovers raw materials to be recycled or reused in a new product
  • Prevents harmful toxins from being released into the environment
  • Makes better use of our natural resources

Despite the negative effects of electronic recycling, if done properly and in safe working conditions, it can help to create new environmentally safe products. As our practices improve, new laws continue to be enacted that educate and help regulate recyclers in order to improve the environment. Stay updated with your local policies and be conscious of how properly disposing e-waste can improve your local environment, other countries and yourself.

In the digital age, we increasingly rely on technology and online services. Consumers are constantly updating their profiles with personal information while businesses are finding new ways to engage customers online. This ever-increasing transfer of data poses increasing risks of data breaches. As a result, more banks, retailers, and internet businesses are victims of data breaches each year. A data breach), is an incident in which Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, medical records or financial records (credit/ debit cards included) are at risk of being accessed by nefarious parties in their electronic or physical form. This data can be accessed by many methods, including insider theft, hacking, phishing, third party, employee error or negligence, accidental web or internet exposure and physical theft.

In 2016, the amount of data breaches increased 40% compared to 2015. If current trends continue, this number looks to be even higher in 2017. Businesses made up 432 out of the 980 breaches. In 2016, over 2.3 billion records were revealed to unauthorized users. With an average cost of $4 million per breach, it is important to recognize the different types of organizations at risk. In this article, we review some of the more significant instances of data breaches since our last update.

March 24, 2016 - Verizon’s Data Breach Fighter is Victim to a Data Breach of its own. According to Brian Krebs, an independent cyber security journalist, customer contact information was stolen from Verizon's enterprise unit appeared online. He personally discovered the cache while exploring the web.

May 31, 2016 - Myspace and Tumblr hit by large data breaches from 2013. A hacker known as Peace, who is believed to be the same person who stole more than 164 million LinkedIn users' data, was trying to sell the passwords and emails of 360 million Myspace users for six bitcoin — roughly $2,800. Like in this instance, it is common for data breaches to be discovered years after the breach occurs.

June 07, 2016 - T-Mobile Employee Arrested for Trying to Sell Customer Data. In the Czech Republic, one of the T-Mobile subsidiaries arrested an employee who had accessed customer data and was attempting to see the data.

September 23, 2016 - Yahoo Reports 500 Million Accounts Stolen. Last year, Yahoo reported a data breach that occurred in 2014, whom they believe was a “state-sponsored actor”, or someone acting on behalf of a foreign government. This incident is one of the largest breaches ever, at least of those we know about.

November 28, 2016 - Navy Reports Data Breach after Hewlett Packard Laptop Compromised. The U.S. Navy warned more than 130,000 sailors after a data breach, when a laptop belonging to an employee of the Navy contractor Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. was compromised.

March 19, 2017 - Saks Fifth Avenue Exposed Personal Info On Tens Of Thousands Of Customers. The personal information of tens of thousands of Saks Fifth Avenue customers was accidentally made publically available when the company’s website failed to offer an encrypted login connection. The records included email addresses, product codes for the items customers expressed interest in buying, some phone numbers and also dates/times and one of a handful of recurring IP addresses.

An important step to prevent a data breach is to take preemptive measures through a coherent data security strategy. This includes:

  • documentation of proper asset management;
  • knowing where IT assets are during use and disposalInx;
  • transparent reporting for the recovery or disposition of IT assets.
Akooba offers the strategy mentioned above to help protect you and your data. Akooba customers know what is happening to each device and how its data was destroyed.

Want to learn more about the topics addressed above? Check out these links for more information:

Verizon’s Data Breach Fighter Gets Hit With, Well, a Data Breach. How does a data breach fighter get hit with a data breach? Well Fortune can tell you why it happened to Verizon. [Verizon]
Myspace and Tumblr hit by large data breaches from 2013. Myspace isn’t so outdated anymore; they still have some of your data and NY Daily News will tell you how. [Myspace]
T-Mobile Employee Arrested for Trying to Sell Customer Data. We found it interesting that an employee wanted to sell customers data, read Cellular News to find out how he was caught. [T-Mobile]
Yahoo says 500 million accounts stolen. Not many people use yahoo as much as they used to, but the ones who do were hit pretty hard and Money CNN explains how hard. [Yahoo]

HardDrives

 

In the previous blog post, we explored why it is important for technology managers to protect their outdated data storage devices. We also identified the different methods for destroying the data on a storage device, by either shredding or wiping a drive. In this next installment, we will take a closer look at the different methods currently offered by the electronic recycling industry for wiping a drive.

Read more: Why We Shred: The Shortcomings of Data Wiping

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland - June 15, 2015

The “Secure Shell” is a first-of-its-kind product that individuals and small businesses can use to destroy their digital data. This secure, reliable and verifiable method for destroying data is economical, eco-friendly and unique to the industry. Once a customer locks a hard drive, cell phone or other data-containing device into a Secure Shell it cannot be reopened without showing obvious signs of tampering; no one will have access to the data again. The Secure Shell remains unopened and is destroyed along with its contents and a video of that destruction is created for the customer's records. 

For the retail price of $29.95, customers receive a Secure Shell with prepaid FedEx return shipping, a Certificate of Destruction and the Destruction Video; unique features that no other data destruction service can offer.

Customers may purchase a Secure Shell at a retail outlet or online at www.securedataltd.com. They register and track the Secure Shell, and receive their destruction video via an online account.

“When using Secure Shell, you’ll have the security, convenience and peace of mind that comes with knowing that the sensitive data on your obsolete digital device is destroyed and can never be recovered,” says Erik Young, Secure Data Ltd.’s President.

Secure Shell was launched at the 2015 National Association Information Destructions (NAID) annual conference and was received with great enthusiasm.  Jay Barwick, Director of Information Systems at River Mill Data Management, LLC said, “Secure Shell’s process provides a unique and innovative way to dispose of your used hard drives in a secure manner. The capability to send your electronic assets off-site for destruction and still be able to witness its destruction is the next best thing to actual on-site destruction. This is a huge step forward in the right direction for off-site data destruction and IT asset management.”

Individuals and small businesses can obtain a Secure Shell by creating an account at www.securedataltd.com.

For information about retail and commercial sales visit the website or contact Robert Pichard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (855) WE KILL DATA x704 (855.935.4553 x704).

Secure Data Ltd.

314 Legion Avenue

Annapolis, MD 21401

1-888 WE KILL DATA (855.935.4553)

 

 

Secure Destruction Magazine, a leading sources of news and information to those in the Information Destruction business, gave Secure Data Ltd's Secure Shell and upcoming VisiShred products a shout out in a recent article.
Check it out here!

Protecting your identity is no longer enough. Data is now permanent, everywhere, and valuable. Criminal elements capitalize on your data with identity theft scams, costing Americans 24.7 billion dollars.... in 2010 according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. What will happen to the data on the 300 million hard drives and half a billion mobile devices sold in 2014. After you have protected your identity, when you are done with your computer, you need to destroy your digital identity. Secure Shell is a service that lets you Destroy Your Identity and physically shred your devices. Our process is designed in a way that is Secure, Reliable, and Verifiable.

Secure Shell is a mail-in destruction service for hard drives and other small devices. We do 3 things to make sure the process is secure and you can have confidence that your data has been destroyed. First, we provide you with a tamper resistant Secure Shell case to lock your device inside. The locked Shell, with your device will go into our shredder unopened. You are the last person who ever touches your data when you put it inside. Second, we use Fed Ex as our trusted shipper. Fed Ex keeps track of your shell through delivery to our facility. Finally, we will send you a video when your Secure Shell is shredded, so you know that they job has been done right.

After you’ve done so many things right: having strong passwords; shredding your personal papers; not clicked on any viruses; take the last step to destroy your identity when you are done with your devices. It is convenient and built to assure you that your data has been destroyed.

Shredding is the only way to know for certain that all of your data has been destroyed. Just formatting your hard drives does nothing. All of your data is still on the drive. There is special software that erases the data off of your hard drive, but it is not perfect. The worst part is, you can not see the 1s and 0s to know for sure it is all gone. When Secure Data sends you a video of your Shell being destroyed, you will know for certain that your information is gone.

 

If you are interested in shredding something, you can get a Secure Shell here.

The following is the first part of a series on the process of data destruction. Be sure to check back here every Wednesday for future installments! 

 

Whether managing a dozen employees or a thousand, technology managers are  constantly tasked with upgrading their tech equipment to keep their business competitive and meet the ongoing requirements of the modern business age. Most people would agree that this is a good process. After all, who doesn't enjoy having access to new technology, especially when it takes the place of a slow, outdated machine? Despite the clear advantages of upgrading an office's tech products, IT managers are still posed with figuring out what to do with the outdated devices, particularly device that were used to store sensitive company data. This post will focus on why it is important for IT managers, office executives, and individuals to properly destroy their data storing devices as part of a larger series exploring the different options available for data destruction.

Read more: Why We Shred: The Importance of Responsible Data Keeping in the Business Tech Age