When I started dealing with serious information security we created a lot of paper.
This wasn’t regular information printed on paper but very sensitive information that could be very damaging if it ever found its way out of the building.
If this paper was ever deemed to be trash, it wasn’t thrown into a trash can, rather it was put into a burn bag.
Once full, or after a specific period of time, this bag would be secured at the top, serialized, recorded, and then shredded and burned on site.
It is highly unlikely that any information would be easily recoverable with that method of destruction (and even keeping the ash!).
Having learned this way of handling my trash, imagine my surprise that at my next job people were supposed to put their sensitive papers in a box which would be opened by a civilian contractor who would come around every so often with a big trash can and then wheel it out to his big truck where, supposedly, the papers were shredded on-site.
There were, and are, so many problems with this plan I actually complained to the security officer at the command.
He didn’t seem concerned.
We weren’t handling top secret (or even secret) information, who would want anything we had, it was good enough, blah blah blah.
Of course he did take notice a few weeks later when I gave him a call to let him know that the locked containers were so full that I could actually reach in and pull papers out and people were just stacking papers, that were otherwise too sensitive to be thrown in the trash, in big piles on top of the containers.
It didn’t change the culture nor the practice of handling this information but at least some additional training was had in the following days.
(Needless to say, I was not impressed.)
So all of this happened many, many years ago; why talk about it now?
Each of us generates, receives, and sends information everyday that we end up just throwing away.
Maybe we think that no one will see it once it hits the round receptacle.
Those that do have a security mindset will realize that once their trash leaves their house they are no longer in control of it and that perhaps destroying it would be better.
Some cities and counties have started providing "shred trucks" as part of a service to their community to help them get rid of sensitive documents on a regular basis.
This might be better than just throwing it away, but is it a Trojan horse?