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Identity Finder: What do I do now?

November 12, 2012 by Sue Weier

Identity Finder logo

Identity Finder is a software tool that helps find restricted or sensitive data saved in files on your computer. In departments supported by L&S Learning Support Services, Identity Finder automatically runs each week. When the scan finishes, the report window opens on your desktop.

So what do you do now? 

You're confronted with a list of files that may, or may not, have sensitive data. This article will give you some ideas about how to approach your Identity Finder report.

First, don't panic. Going through this report should reassure you. If your computer is infected by malware or viruses, you can confidently say that you don't have any sensitive data. Social Security numbers, credit cards? No! A clean Identity Finder report means that you won't have to suffer through a complicated, disruptive investigation. As their logo suggests, Identity Finder can be "man's best friend."

Second, browse through the list. Do the file names look familiar to you? Some of the files may be in old email archives or backup directories. Much of the restricted data we find on Identity Finder reports is in historic files that really don't need to be kept any longer. You can permanently and securely delete unneeded files using the Shred button within Identity Finder.

Third, check for false positives. Identity Finder is a useful tool, but it's not perfect. Your report probably contains some data that isn't restricted, but has been mistaken for a social security or credit card number. You can ignore the false positives with the Ignore button in Identity Finder. The ignored records won't show up in your future reports.

More information about ignoring and shredding data, and other ways to manage your Identity Finder report, can be found in the UW Knowledgebase by searching for Identity Finder. A good place to start is the Taking Action on your Scan Results document. To view this document for Windows, go to http://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=12676. For a Mac go to http://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=14443.

After you've gone through the steps above, you'll hopefully find that your Identity Finder report has virtually disappeared.  However, if you have questions about this article or your Identity Finder report, you can contact Sue Weier of L&S Learning Support Services. If you're in a TechZone-supported department, you can also email techzone@lss.wisc.edu.

 

 

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