by Adam Armstrong

Fujifilm Reveals Dangers Of Re-Certified Tape Media

Today Fujifilm Recording Media U.S.A. Inc. announced the results of a study of re-certified tape media. The study was a joint analysis with Ovation Data Services that not only found security risks in selling used tape media to re-certifiers, but there is also a quality issue when buying tape media that has been re-certified. Fujifilm and OvationData joint analysis found that confidential data can be recovered through certain data recovery methods, exposing a wide range of data: personal, corporate, financial, or healthcare records. Of course the ultimate fear is that third parties can use this data maliciously against businesses or individuals.

Fujifilm acquired 50 random, re-certified LTO tapes from five re-certified sellers and submitted them to OvationData for analysis. 48 of the 50 tapes still contained usable information, including highly confidential customer data. The tapes that still contained data were found to be reinitialized at the beginning to make it seem as though prior data was deleted. No certification could be found indicating that the tapes were checked for potential errors or physical tape damage, or that they were checked to ensure previous data was completely erased. The study also revealed that there is no industry standard for “re-certifying” used media.

Another issue with the 48 tapes, was that a number of them had significant quality issues. One third of the tapes had manufacturing dates before June 2006, raising environment exposure history concerns. And 16 of the tapes' read, write, and servo error rates were unacceptably high.

Fujifilm further found that resellers were repacking used tapes and selling them as new. Resellers are using counterfeit manufacturer packaging and selling these tapes through discount websites.

Fujifilm had a list of recommendations for organization's media management policies:

  • Enact policies that ensure control of data before, during and after it leaves your organization;
  • Prohibit the selling of used media to protect against potential breach of confidentiality or violation of government regulations;
  • Develop guidelines for confirming appropriate data deletion and destruction of retired media;
  • Specify “new, factory fresh” media when purchasing new media through a reseller. This will ensure that the media you receive is not merely initialized or repackaged to appear as new.

Fujifilm site

OvationData site

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