Paper shredders are machines that allow the shredding of any paper to tiny pieces or very fine strips. Paper shredders are commonly used by individuals or groups that need to destroy classified documents that may prove to be of danger to themselves or to their group. These documents are cut into tiny pieces so that no one attempting to read them will succeed in doing so. Experts in the field of privacy will often advise individuals to destroy some of their personal documents like account statements, bills or other important files that cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of anyone.
1. Avoid Identity Theft
Another reason why important personal records and files must be destroyed is to avoid identity theft. Identity theft is simply when another person is assuming the persona of another person. Important records and files shredded through a paper shredder will be impossible to read - thus eliminating the possibility of identity theft.
Though paper shredders have given us the security of destroying files that we don't want anyone else to see, our carelessness can take away that security. In situations where a person merely leaves shredded paper from the paper shredder lying just about anywhere or at the garbage bin, the pieces can still be collected by nosy people or investigators, maybe even spies. To enable maximum security, when using a paper shredder make sure that documents are fed in a horizontal way and that they are perpendicular to the blades of the shredder.
2. Easy Cleanup
Many modern paper shredders come with their own waste bin, and those that do not have one are designed to enable them to fit over or next to another waste bin. Paper shredders are categorized depending on their size and shape of the shreds that they produce.
++ Strip Cut ++
A strip cut paper shredder uses knives that rotate that cut long narrow strips as long as the original size of the paper. The product of this paper shredder is the easiest to reconstruct for determined and patient investigators or spies. This is also the least secure type of paper shredder.
++ Cross Cut ++
This type of paper shredder uses drums that contra-rotate to cut the paper into parallelogram or rectangular shaped shreds.
3. Particle cut
The product of this paper shredder creates tiny square or circular shreds.
4. Granulators and disintegrators
These are paper shredders that randomly cut the paper repeatedly until they are no more than little particles that can fit through the mesh
5. Pulverizers or hammermills
Huge devices that simply make dust out of your paper
Some alternative paper shredders not just shred the paper but are also sometimes equipped with chemicals, burning materials or composting materials that completely destroy the document after shredding it. For paper shredders that do not protect up to maximum security, like the strip cut - it will still be possible to unshred the document by reconstructing and pasting the shredded pieces together. This was fist spurred with the Enron accountancy scandal, where documents containing altered information were fed through the paper shredder in the wrong way, enabling the investigator to reassemble the original document.
As difficult as it is to understand, shredded paper is possible to reconstruct. Undisturbed shredded papers tend to stay in close proximity with each other unless acted upon by an outer force, especially if these shredded materials belong to the same document. Also, as with the Enron accountancy scandal, confidential documents were fed through the shredder in a wrong way. When paper is fed in such a way that its lines are not at right angles with the blades of the shredder, it creates shredded paper containing longer and readable texts.
Shredded paper can even be reconstructed without the use of any machines. In 1979, just after the Iranian revolution, the U.S government hired local Iranian carpet weavers who with patience reconstructed the documents found in the Tehran US embassy. Because of this, paper shredders made a step further in creating paper shredders that can pulverize, pulp and decompose the shredded.