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Identity Finder - Frequently Asked Questions
This page serves as a Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ) page to answer many of the questions that users of Identity Finder might have.
What is Identity Finder?
Identity Finder is a program that scans systems to find Personally Identifiable Information (PII). PII is any information that an individual might find either sensitive or valuable, these include, but are not limited to: Social Security Numbers, Passport Numbers, Bank Account information, and ID numbers. Identity Finder will find this data on your system and give you the option to either 'Shred', 'Ignore', or 'Scrub' your information. Identity Finder does not search for any other information on your computer other than information that has the potential to be abused by hackers.
Why do we need to run Identity Finder?
It is important to protect your data because hackers can use it to steal identities. By Deleting, or Scrubbing your data you are protecting yourself in the event that a hacker somehow gains access to your system.
How long will Identity Finder take to complete a scan?
Identity Finder has been optimized to search only in areas where we think PII might be stored. Scans for Identity Finder vary based on the amount of storage there is on the computer and how much PII is stored on the computer. Most scans take 5 - 20 minutes, with the longest scans taking up to an hour at the most, this is normally only the case with systems running bootcamp, though.
Will Academic Computing see any of my information?
The information found by Identity Finder is sent back to the Identity Finder console that is accessible by our systems administrator. However, only the last four digits of each instance of PII is sent to prevent any possibility of abuse.
What if I don’t have PII?
If you don’t think that you have PII on your computer before a scan is run, we encourage you to allow the IDF program run a scan for the most common types of PII just to be sure. If IDF returns without any instances of PII then you don’t have to do anything.
What do I do if Identity Finder finds PII?
If the IDF scan returns instances of found PII then you should review and remediate the PII how you see fit and according to Academic Computing guidelines. We recommend that you shred and scrub as much of the PII as you can.
What if I need to keep the PII for business and or personal reasons?
If there is PII on your system that you need to keep for business or other reasons then it is recommended that you remove it from your computer and move it over to the S drive.
How do I demonstrate a valid business reason for keeping my PII?
Requests for exemptions or special circumstances will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
How often should I scan for PII?
You may scan for PII as often as you feel appropriate with whatever search parameters you deem necessary. Academic Computing will run a scan once a month with default configuration settings.
How often will Academic Computing Services scan for PII?
Once a month.
Will Identity Finder slow my computer down?
An IDF scan with default settings produces a scan that is short and is minimally taxing on your computer. Scans will not be taxing on your computer but expanding the search parameters will extend the scan time.
What else can I do to protect myself from cybercrime?
Don’t give your password out to anyone, also it is a good idea to turn your password into a passphrase as they are harder to break and easier to remember. Here is an article on the importance of passphrases. An alternative solution is to use a password manager such as Lastpass.