Citing recent news reports about the latest cyber theft of secure government data, John Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste, said such crimes have become all too common and warns the problem will continue to get worse until digital security becomes a top priority.
Several national news outlets have reported hackers linked to China appear to have gained access to sensitive background information submitted by intelligence and military personnel for security clearances, describing a second cyber breach of federal records that could dramatically compound the potential damage.
Nearly all of the millions of security clearance holders, including Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and military special operations personnel, are potentially exposed in the security clearance breach, according to government officials.
A new estimate puts the number of compromised records between 9 and 14 million, going back to the 1980s, said one congressional official and one former U.S. official, who spoke to The Associated Press.
“Based on these reports, we are now faced with an increasingly dangerous situation that starkly illustrates just how serious a problem cybercrime has become,” said Shegerian. “It’s not just about personal information and finances, it is also a risk to our national security. Be it a smartphone, consumer laptop or a private data on military intelligence officers, technology today is far too vulnerable to the attacks of cyberthieves.”
Shegerian also explained that securing online data is not enough, and government, as well as the private sector, must also protect all hardware and devices containing data with equal diligence.
“With current technological innovations, there is very fast turnover when it comes to computers, laptops and other electronic devices,” Shegerian added. “Properly recycling all old and unwanted items – government or otherwise – here in the United States, is crucial. Our digital security, our environment and the reliability of the new devices we purchase all rest in the balance of us recycling the right way.”
Shegerian also noted ERI currently provides the only nationwide solution offering 100 percent guaranteed data destruction for consumer electronics devices and e-waste.