In today’s digitally-centric world, businesses rely heavily on technology to remain competitive. With the increased use of internet-enabled devices, such as routers and switches, the importance of network security cannot be overstated. These devices are used to connect users to the internet and help businesses communicate, both internally and externally. However, if not properly secured, they can become a major source of vulnerability, leading to data breaches and other cyberattacks.

NetScout Study

One of the lesser-known risks associated with routers and switches is the recycling and movement of these devices from one location to another without first wiping their memory. This practice can pose a significant risk to businesses, as sensitive information such as credentials and configuration details may still be present on the device. A recent study by a network security provider, NetScout, highlights the seriousness of this issue. This study showed that up to 30% of recycled core routers and switches still contained sensitive information.

NetScout further analyzed 5,000 recycled routers and switches from various industries, including telecommunications, financial services, healthcare, and government. The research found that recycled routers and switches are most likely to contain sensitive information in the healthcare and financial services industries, at 35% and 32%, respectively. 

The risks associated with recycled routers and switches are significant. Cybercriminals can use sensitive information stored on these devices to launch attacks on corporate networks, steal data, disrupt networks, and more. Many recycled routers and switches are found running outdated software and firmware, which further increases their vulnerability to cyberattacks.

Mitigating Risks

In order to mitigate the risks associated with recycled routers and switches, NetScout pleads with companies to wipe the memory of their core routers and switches before recycling or selling them. They also advise that companies run the latest software and firmware versions to ensure maximum security

The consequences of not taking proactive measures can be dire, as a mistake of this degree can be financially and reputationally costly for a company. The cost of data breaches can vary depending on the severity and scale of the violation; however, it is not uncommon for businesses to face millions of dollars in costs associated with damage control. Furthermore, a data breach can lead to a loss of customer trust and can have long-lasting consequences on a business’s reputation.

The risks associated with recycled core routers and switches highlight the importance of proper data destruction practices in the IT asset disposition process. ERI is a leader in the field of responsible electronics recycling and ITAD, holding a long-standing commitment to protecting the security and privacy of data. With a range of data destruction services, including software wiping, degaussing, and physical destruction, ERI can help ensure that sensitive information is permanently removed from all types of IT assets before they are recycled or resold. 

By partnering with ERI, you can rest assured that your data is safe and out of reach of those who look to do harm to your organization. Get in touch today to see if a partnership could be mutually beneficial.