By PMA RASHEED
24 May 2011, The Gulf Today
SHARJAH: Improper document disposal increases incidents of confidential data and identity theft, pointed out Sharjah’s semi-government environment and waste management authority Bee’ah.
Several types of confidential information are highly vulnerable to abuse by criminals if simply thrown into dustbins, a senior Beea’h official warned on Monday.
Walid Zabaneh, vice president of Business Development and Strategy at Bee’ah, told The Gulf Today that a number of security breaches can be traced back to mishandled, lost or stolen documents.
“UAE authorities are stepping up measures to tackle circumstances leading to information theft including dumpster diving, cheque scams and false identity cases,” added Khalid Al Huraimel, CEO, Bee’ah.
“In some cases, information theft may potentially jeopardise national security and turn out as a contributor to massive financial losses for companies and individuals.”
He advised that all kinds of debris, especially confidential documents and electronic information, should be discarded responsibly and, and if possible in an environmentally friendly way.
The Bee’ah recently linked up with the Sharjah Immigration Department to crack down on waste scavengers in the Emirate in a joint initiative to curb issues related to insecurity of personal information.
“Information including financial data, figures, company records, facts, private statistics and information about clients or projects have to be protectively disposed after use, or you will have to face severe consequences,” pointed out Zabaneh.
“However, no specific local figures are available for public on the increase in identity theft or breach of information security laws, linked to the unsafe disposal of documents.”
Speaking about Bee’ah’s confidential document destruction and recycling project aimed at protecting businesses, Zabaneh stated that determining the link between data breaches and identity theft is challenging, primarily because identity theft victims often do not know how their personal information was obtained.
“In several cases the reason for the data breach and eventual identity theft can be the stack of potentially confidential data disposed with regular trash by the office staff or the tiny credit card receipt, thrown casually in the trash after a shopping trip,” he elaborated.
“The implications of improper destruction of crucial data are the cause of huge losses to businesses and individuals alike,” Zabaneh added.
Introducing its confidential document destruction and recycling service as a safe, secure and environmentally responsible procedure, Bee’ah urges businesses in the UAE to employ properly document disposal procedures to reduce incidents of data theft and security breach.
Zabaneh said, “Waste-scavengers intentionally explore sites, where waste of their target companies are being dumped, in hopes of uncovering important information and selling them to wrong people.”
According to him, business entities should implement a ‘shred-all’ policy for all unwanted documents, on a regular basis, to avoid risks. “Special locked consoles have to be provided to deposit confidential documents, instead of recycling bins.”
“Bee’ah also has a mobile shredding unit with trained operatives to destroy documents on-site. All shredded material is then recycled and on completion a certificate is issued confirming the secure destruction and recycling of documents,” Zabaneh
“Since the launch of the service in 2009, Bee’ah has securely managed to destroy and recycle over 1,000 tonnes of paper which is equivalent to saving 17,000 trees,” he concluded.