YOU ARE a Felon
Work in a bank, the jewelry industry, or a high end shop? If so, you probably have become desensitized to the monetary values around you. They are just “stuff” that must be handled with an eye to accountability. You know it’s not your property, and you really don’t want what you cannot afford; you are not a crook. Thus, you have no plans for improper behavior. You do not plan to DO anything wrong.
But how about a situation where NOT doing something puts you on the wrong side of the law. And, that law might be criminal (window bars hotel) or civil (you pay money). Feel that you are totally innocent? I’m about to prove you wrong.
We receive, via email, many confidential documents, loan packages, contracts, etc. that we are entrusted to process. At the conclusion of our function we have no need for, nor are we supposed to retain a copy of the documents. Some choose to retain a scan of what was submitted, mostly for a defense against claims that we made an error. In the discussion that follows it makes no difference if you kept a copy or routinely deleted the package. How so? Read on.
The personal devices, be it PC, Smartphone, tablet or similar are perhaps the worst managed things we rely upon. Few of us have current (very important) versions of anti-virus and other protective software. Virtually nobody actively maintains the device’s operating system with the updates provided by the manufacturer. With greater skills than ever the “bad people” are attacking these devices for the wealth of personal information. Can you imagine their delight at finding a bunch of loan packages and other private documents sitting on your device?
Recall earlier I said saved or deleted did not matter. You don’t have to be a computer geek to know that it’s possible, and very easy to recover deleted files. A bunch of nice PDF files with terms such as “closing docs” or “corporate agreement” and such are sure to bring a smile to any identity thief. OH, they are password protected, do a search for “PDF password cracker”.
Earlier I called you a Felon. Here’s the crime: you did not properly secure or destroy the information that was entrusted to your care. You have a login password? If your drive is stolen or remotely copied, the image can be mounted on a different computer and your device browsed.
Really secure files are encrypted. Encryption can be “cracked”, but the computer power necessary to defeat good encryption makes that totally impractical unless you are a government agency. Back to those “deleted” and easily recovered files. You could have “security erased” them with a small utility. A good security erase will overwrite the entire file, several times, with ones and zeros. Near total obliteration. Again, it might be possible for big bucks to access the underlying image; but again for all practical purposes there is no recovery.
Who’s gonna know? Well crime fighters are not dumb. The pattern of the same Notary Public appearing in multiple document related frauds might not be too hard to spot. Do you want to tell the court that you thought you deleted the file? How about, “I did not expect my device to be hacked or ripped off”. Better to fortify your device, and really encrypt or destroy work docs.
Sometimes NOT doing the right thing is just as bad as DOING the wrong thing.