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Are Shredded Documents Safe?


Traditionally, the most effective and efficient way to destroy important documents is to shred them. This can be done by hand or scissor, but those are not the safest ways to go about destroying important information. Advancements in paper shredding technology have revolutionized how individuals and businesses keep private information private. It is important to shred documents, but just how safe is the information that is being shredded? Recent studies show that with time, care, and ingenuity, shredded documents can be placed back together. So, are your shredded documents really safe?

When documents are shredded in a home or business, usually the discarded shreds are left in a trashcan or dumpster that people can gain access too. It could potentially be very easy for someone to grab your shredded documents and simply walk off with them. What can these individuals do with shredded documents?

DARPA (Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency) has recently concluded a contest that was designed to see if an individual or a team could create a computer program that would put shredded documents back together. Over 9,000 teams entered, but only one was crowned grand champion. Otavio Good's team, All your Shreds are Belong To Us, won $50,000 for the computer program they created (it took over 600 hours for them to create the program). The program analyzes scanned pieces of paper, and tries to put it back together like a jigsaw puzzle. The program was taught to look for other pieces that make even fits with both the cut and the writing. Other teams created programs, but none had the results that Good's team had.

If programs like this are out there, what can a business or an individual do? The best thing to do, to make sure that your private information remains private, is to hire a professional shredding company to handle all your shredding needs. For instances, let say you needed document shredding Westchester, NY. A professional shredding company would come to a home or office in Westchester, and they would drop off a specially designed garbage bin for all documents to be shredded. This garbage bin has an outside lock and only a small hole for shoving papers in. This means that once a paper enters the bin it will stay there. Next, the shredding company will come and pick up all materials that must be shredded. They will take it to a secure location, and they will use heavy-duty crosscutting. Crosscut shredding is the most secure way to destroy documents. Lastly, the company will transport that waste material to a recycling plant where the documents will be completely destroyed and repurposed.

If you are serious about the security of important documents, make sure you hire a professional shredding company today.

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