Friday, January 8, 2010
Campus Policy Protects Others from Identity Theft
Learn how to reduce the risk of identify theft on your computer.
Did you know if your computer/laptop is lost or stolen, you could be putting former students at risk for identity theft?
In 2004, SDSU stopped using Social Security numbers to identify students, faculty and staff, and began issuing Red ID numbers – unique identifiers to help protect the private information of our community. Until that time, many a homework assignment, project or grading sheet could have had an SSN listed.
Help is here
Could you still have legacy SSNs on your computer? If you’re not sure, SDSU’s Information Technology Security Office is able to help. Because of the difficulty of finding documents with SSNs, the university adopted use of a free software program to help search your computer so you can delete or archive those dangerous files.
“In recent incidents of stolen equipment, we manually search for SSN files using backup drives, and then use the free software to confirm we didn’t miss any,” said Felecia Vlahos, SDSU Information Security Officer. “In every case, the software found all of the SSNs illustrating that if it had been ran prior to theft, there would have been no private information at risk.”
Go online for software and instructions
The “Find SSNs” software and instructions are available online for user download on the Rohan server.
For Windows 2000 and XP
For Windows Vista
For Mac OS X
After running the program, learn how to review the results. In some cases, there have been reports of false positives where the program identifies other nine digit numbers such as latitude and longitude. In this case, it is up to faculty and staff to decide whether a manual review of their files is more productive.
Information security is everyone’s responsibility, said Vlahos.
For help, contact SDSU’s Information Security Officer at (619) 594-4904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.