Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering | Engineering Technical Services

Have you noticed Identity Finder software running searches on your university-owned computer?

Here is everything you need to know…

Identity Finder Software Overview (writeup by UTO)

The Identify Finder application is software installed on your university-owned computer that is used to assist in locating identity information such as social security numbers and credit card numbers. This software searches through your computer to find any personally identifiable information (PII) that may be hiding on your computer, then allows you to decide on the action to take to secure it.

The software works like an anti-virus program in that it updates regularly, and can scan your system for any information that may be hiding. It also may suggest running a scan whenever you connect a removable media device like a thumb drive to your computer.

Benefits and Features:
Information discovery tools can help to keep personally identifiable information and institutional data secure. Arizona State University has purchased a university-wide license for Identity Finder, allowing all ASU employees use of the software across all ASU-owned Windows or Mac OS systems.

What does it do?
The intent of this software is to decrease our exposure level by reducing the components of identity information that may exist in hidden places of our technology on campus. The application does connect to a central console managed by UTO for licensing purposes, and also sends minimal meta-data such as search status, username, and debugging information. It does not send any of the found items or sensitive data nor any information about what was found – it is in no way meant to invade your privacy, but rather to protect you, the university and our community. The university is under federal and state obligations to protect the data that we collect and use in the course of doing our business.

This software is very effective in evaluating our compliance with the university’s ACD 125: Computer, Internet, and Electronic Communications Policy. By using Identity Finder you are helping reduce the university’s risk by eliminating sensitive data stored on your computer or the network.

What it reports
UTO does not collect any match data from Identity Finder. This means the individual SSN, credit card, or other results found by the software are not sent anywhere, but remain on the system where it was found, allowing you to choose an action to take to secure the data. Data transmitted to the central console is limited to:
• Error and debugging logs
• Installation and system identification information
• Search status (start time, end time, failures)
• Search user name

How do I install this on my University computer?
Deskside staff will be rolling out the software to end users. Additionally, the software installation files will be available to all employees on MyApps, but should only be used if you cannot get the software from your deskside staff (and only on ASU-owned systems).

How do I use this?

UTO has pre-configured the software to run on the second Friday of every month, searching for social security numbers and credit card numbers on your local system. Once completed, the software Window will automatically show, and allow you to take action on the items it found, or save the results to view later. You can also open the application (from the Start Menu or Applications) and run customized searches at any time. UTO has also pre-configured the software to always search for social security numbers & credit card numbers, but you can add other data types, like driver license or health information, and also tell it to look through other locations like emails or removable drives. You will likely find many surprising results.

After a search completes, you will be presented with the results window, and have some options to take. Running the search does not modify any data items, it just finds them, and waits for you to tell it what to do. For each piece of data found you have several options, including:
• Shred – Identity Finder will securely delete the entire file that the identity found was contained in. Shredded files are unrecoverable, so be sure the entire file is not needed before taking this action.
• Scrub – For certain file types (e.g. Microsoft Word, Excel, text documents), Identity Finder can mask the identity found in the file, replacing the data with ‘X’ characters, but leaving the rest of the file intact.
• Ignore – For false positives (data that looks like it could be an identity match, but really isn’t) this option will remove this match from the search results

Please visit https://getprotected.asu.edu/content/sensitive-data-cleanup for more information about the software, including a more detailed FAQ.

For assistance with installation, troubleshooting, or use of the software, please contact your Deskside Support staff.

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