ERI’s John Shegerian Warns that Amid All-Time High Data Breach Numbers, Security Efforts Must Defend Against Hacks on Discarded Hardware

Citing the recently released 2018 Thales Data Threat Report, which revealed data breach numbers are at an all-time high, John Shegerian, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of ERI, the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste and the world’s largest cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company, has claimed that individuals, businesses and even our national security is at an escalated level of risk. To combat that risk, Shegerian said, it has become urgently important to account for data on discarded hardware as well as cyberspace data protections.

The Thales Data Threat Report noted that rates of successful breaches have reached an all-time high for both mid-sized and enterprise class organizations, with more than two-thirds (67%) of global organizations and nearly three fourths (71%) in the U.S. having been breached to date. Further, nearly half (46%) of U.S. respondents reported a breach just in the previous 12 months, nearly double the 24% response from last year, while over one-third (36%) of global respondents suffered a similar fate.

In addition to the massive Equifax breach that exposed personal information of 143 million individuals, other noted breaches last year included the education platform Edmodo (77 million records hacked); Verizon (14 million subscribers possibly hacked); and America’s JobLink (nearly 5 million records compromised). Shegerian has warned that this massive increase in breaches is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg.

“When a device is responsibly recycled here in the US, part of that process should always include complete, physical data destruction,” said Shegerian. “Guaranteed data destruction is key. Some companies believe their data is being wiped when they drop devices off for recycling and that is not always the case. Also, unethical and illegal shipping of e-waste abroad has become an additional layer to the hardware security issue because it leads to the wholesale liquidation of our national security and the privacy of the corporations and individuals of the United States. Recycling these devices is important, but it must be done the right way.”

Shegerian added that mining of data on discarded devices is a huge and unchecked part of the data theft problem, explaining that hardware hacking is more common than ever because many organizations that claim to recycle electronics and destroy data are actually shipping the devices abroad. He also noted that ERI currently provides the only dually certified nationwide solution offering 100 percent guaranteed data destruction for consumer electronics devices, e-waste, and hardware.