Identity Finder

Identity Finder is a scanning program that helps users find and secure sensitive information. The main function of Identity Finder is to help users locate and remove Social Security and Credit Card numbers from their documents and email. Social Security and Credit Card Numbers required for current University business processes may be retained. With the adoption of PeopleSoft and PID numbers, increased concern around identity theft, and information security, the University would like to reduce risk related to data breaches.

Scans happen early Thursday mornings, or when you first log in after missing a scheduled scan. Identity Finder scans files, folders, and email messages including all folders in your Desktop, My Documents, and Recycle Bin. The initial scan takes the longest amount of time as Identity Finder, subsequent scans focus on new and updated files making it much faster. Identity Finder does not scan shared drives, departmental drives, and shared folders, where the responsibility for content can be spread across multiple users.

How to use Identity Finder

Upon completion of a scan you will receive a pop-up report with files and emails containing matches to the formats of Social Security and Credit Card numbers. The report will allow you to remediate the matches by using the Shred, Scrub, and Ignore functions of the Identity Finder program. Matches may include false positives, such as receipt or order numbers, that match the format of Social Security Numbers ###-##-####, or Credit Card Numbers ####-####-####-####, which can be identified and will not show up in later scans. Social Security and Credit Card numbers within records required for continued business needs can be kept.

Shred – The Scrub function of Identity Finder will securely delete the file containing the match for sensitive information. Shredded files will not go into the Recycle Bin and are not recoverable.

Scrub – The Scrub function will remove the sensitive information from a file without deleting the file itself. Scrubbed files will remove matches while keeping the other text and information of the file intact. Emails and PST files cannot use the Scrub function because changes to emails cannot be re-saved. You will notices Xs replacing the matched values (ex. XXX-XX-XXXX, XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX).

*The Scrub function is limited to documents saved in MS Office 2010 and newer (files with extensions .docx, .xlsx, .pptx). Files from MS Office 2007 and older can be opened and re-saved as Office 2010 files using the “Save As” option. You will need to delete the old version to avoid having it reappear on scans.

Ignore – The Ignore function will indicate to Identity Finder that a match in a specific file, or group of matches within a file, can be omitted from future scans. Ignored information can be false positives , receipt or order numbers that are similar to Social Security and Credit Card numbers, or Social Security and Credit Card numbers that are necessary for University related work.

Tips for scans

  • Empty Recycle Bin before scan – Windows may move files to the Recycle Bin depending on where or how they were Deleted. Files can accumulate in the Recycle Bin over years and may still contain matches for Social Security and Credit Card Numbers. Emptying the Recycle Bin will reduce the number of files scanned, and the number of results in the Identity Finder report.
  • Change all files over to MS Office 2010 and newer – Converting all files over to Office 2010 and newer will allow Identity Finder to Scrub files and eliminate Social Security and Credit Card Numbers without the need to open, review, or delete entire files.