Shredding for Security

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Guy Pace


Over the last few years, shredders have become a common appliance in homes. This is a good thing, but just shredding may not be enough. Of course, you have to assess the risk.

That shredder you bought four or five years ago has been working fine and you dispose of the shredded remains appropriately. But, it might not be getting the job done well enough, depending on the type of material you shred, how you dispose of it, or the environment you are in.

Most shredders are now cross-cut shredders. This is good because the shredded remains are next to impossible to reconstruct. The older, straight-cut shredders leave remains that can be reconstructed.

Yes, it is a tedious, mind-numbing job, but one that can be done by hiring the right people. Meth addicts are often recruited by the bad guys to reconstruct the shredded remains acquired from high value targets.

Some shredders will grind up credit and bank cards, CD/DVDs, and other material, as well as paper. If you use CDs or DVDs for backup, you should consider a shredder that can handle that media.

What to shred?

   1.  All financial documents that are no longer needed.
   2.  Anything with your name and address.
   3.  Paper credit or debit card receipts (after you determine you do not need to return the product purchased).
   4.  Old resumes and job applications.

And, just to keep things interesting, shred some junk mail to keep the mix in the remains as random as possible.

Cross-posted from Rapier57

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Rob Mortimer Guy,

Good article, I like the idea of adding junk paper to the fold, I have introduced a sound mechanism for further security both at home and as part of an employee security awareness program at my place of work which you and others may find of interest.

After shredding your documents at home - get the kids involved in paper mache projects using the shredded paper, then once dried, painted etc and you want to discard them - they burn well.

By soaking the paper in a water and a washing up solution the ink in the paper becomes 90% unreadable and then when compressed into mache it becomes wholly unreadable and impossible to separate the the pieces without damaging further.

Good way to keep your kids occupied (if even for one cold wet Saturday morning a month)and keeps your info secure and private.


Guy Pace Thanks for some excellent ideas to enhance this, Rob! Now, I just need a few more grandkids and someplace to make a mess.
Allan Pratt, MBA Good post, Guy, thanks!
Tom Mahoney When I do credit card fraud presentations to small merchants and consumers, I recommend a cross-cut shredder. I also suggest that if they can't afford one, they can use a garbage disposer.

I also to consumers that if they just have docs where critical information appears in only one or two spots - like credit card statements - they can tear off the sensitive information and flush it.

Whatever works!
Aaron Villa Another great suggestion is not to put all your shredder material in a nice shiny white back all wrapped up with a nice bow. I might offend some people, but this is the type of sensitive waste you should put in with your normal trash to spread it out and get it nice and dirty from whatever is in your trash. Coffee grounds, yesterdays bananas and the likes will surely help ruin all your shredded material. So do yourself a favor, toss your shreds into your trash can and let them get dirty with the rest of the trash.
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