Identity

Private Information Handling Quick Reference Table

Private Information Handling Quick Reference Table

Updated 8/14/12

This table provides recommendations on the correct handling of private information at RIT.

New York State defines private information (PI) as any personal information concerning a natural person combined with one or more of the following data elements: Social Security number, driver's license number, account number, or credit or debit card number in combination with any required security code.

Digital Self Defense 103 - Information Handling fulfills the training requirement for handling RIT Private or Confidential Information.

Consult the Identity Finder End User Guide for Windows or Mac for more information.





Situation

Identity Finder Instructions (Preferred)

General Instructions (Use if Identity Finder is NOT available)

I no longer need the files containing the private information

Delete the files using the "Shred" command. This can be done from within the Identity Finder interactive scan report or by right-clicking on the file or folder and choosing "Identity Finder/Shred." If you are unable to delete the file, contact your help desk.

Delete the files securely. Use a secure file deletion utility such as Eraser. Contact your campus support organization or the RIT Information Security Office at infosec@rit.edu for recommended products.

I need to keep the files, but I don't need the private information

Sanitize the information by using the "Scrub" command. This can be done from within the Identity Finder interactive scan report. Identity Finder will replace the Private Information with x's. Note that this option is not available for all file types.

Sanitize the documents by deleting any private information such as Social Security Numbers (SSNs) or credit card numbers. Save a new copy of the sanitized document and delete the original file.

I need to continue to have a unique identifier for each individual

Sanitize the information by using the "Scrub" command. This can be done from within the Identity Finder interactive scan report. Identity Finder will replace the Private Information with x's. Open the file and replace the x's with unique identifiers not based on the SSN.

Sanitize the documents by eliminating the private information. Convert SSNs to University Identification Numbers (UIDs).

 





Situation

General Instructions for Handling Private Information

I need to keep the complete files containing the private information

Unnecessary possession of Private information should be eliminated.

  • There must be a business need to store this information and the system storing the information must meet all applicable RIT security standards (e.g., Desktop and Portable Computer Security Standard, Server Security Standard, etc.). In general, an RIT employee has a legitimate purpose for having access to the social security numbers of another individual when such number is required for:
    • tax or billing purposes
    • credit authorizations
    • background checks
    • in furtherance of submitting a federal or state governmental application that requires the transmission of an individual's social security number.
 

In addition, SSNs shall be maintained when required by either court order, subpoena, or by direction of the Office of Legal Affairs.

  • Consider encrypting the files.
  • Do not store the encryption key or password on the computer or drive containing the encrypted information.
  • Minimize the amount of records stored locally on a desktop or laptop computer by storing the information on an RIT file server.
  • Inform your manager and your Information Steward/Management Representative of the need to retain Private information.
 

Contact your help desk or the RIT Information Security Office for more recommended practices.

I need to carry the files on a portable computer, device, or media (e.g., Laptops, Flash Drives, CD/DVDs, smartphones)

Unnecessary possession of Private information should be eliminated.

  • Storage or conveyance of Private Information on portable devices or media is strongly discouraged.
  • Minimize the amount of records stored on portable devices or media by storing the information on an RIT file server.
  • There must be a business need to store this information and the system storing the information must meet all applicable RIT security standards (e.g., Desktop and Portable Computer Security Standard, Server Security Standard, etc.). In general, an RIT employee has a legitimate purpose for having access to the social security numbers of another individual when such number is required for:
    • tax or billing purposes
    • credit authorizations
    • background checks
    • in furtherance of submitting a federal or state governmental application that requires the transmission of an individual's social security number.
 

In addition, SSNs shall be maintained when required by either court order, subpoena, or by direction of the Office of Legal Affairs.

  • Private information (and RIT Confidential information) stored or transported on portable media must be encrypted.
  • Do not store the encryption key or password on the media containing the encrypted information.
  • If you are storing or transporting the private information on a portable computer, contact your help desk for encryption options.
  • Protect the private information from unauthorized use or theft.
 

Inform your manager and your Information Steward/Management Representative of the need to retain Private information.

I no longer need the portable media or hard drive, how do I dispose of them securely?

The RIT Information Security Office provides the following secure disposal recommendations:

  • Erase magnetic media (hard drives, LS120 media, old Zip/Jazz Cartridges, magnetic tapes) with a degausser.

    NOTE: the media may not be usable after degaussing.
  • CD/DVDs can be shredded in a media shredder.
 

A degausser and media shredder are available at the ITS HelpDesk in Booth 07B.

 

Private Information Management Initiative (PIMI) FAQ

Private Information Management Initiative (PIMI) FAQ

What is the Private Information Management Initiative?

Updated 6/11/14

 

The Private Information Management Initiative (PIMI) is a program where the RIT Information Security Office helps RIT faculty and staff scan their computers and attached drives to determine if they contain private information (PI). When PI is found, each RIT faculty and staff member is responsible for remediating the private information by scrubbing or shredding the files.

The program also includes destruction of paper files containing nonessential PI.

The goals of the program are to identify and reduce the amount of private information at RIT. This reduction will help safeguard the RIT community against identity theft and will help RIT comply with relevant state and federal laws.

What is Private Information?

New York State defines private information (PI) as:

any personal information concerning a natural person combined with one or more of the following data elements: Social Security number (SSN), driver's license number, account number, or credit or debit card number in combination with any required security code. These combinations of information are often used in identity theft. 

The New York State Information Security Breach and Notification Act requires that RIT notify affected consumers if their Private information is compromised.

Why is RIT scanning my computer or drive for Private information?

RIT is scanning your computer or drive because we've found that scans have revealed the presence of Private information on many computers; even when the computer owners do not believe there is any Private information present. We want to reduce the potential for identity theft occurring as a result of information obtained from RIT computers.

How is RIT authorized to scan my computer?

RIT is authorized to scan computers using the RIT network in order to protect the RIT community. See the Computer Code of Conduct and Network Use and the Privacy Policy.

It is important to note that the Information Security Office may inspect the results of the scan only to aid in remediation efforts.

Are other universities doing anything similar?

Many universities are beginning to scan for Private information on computers connected to their networks and have begun remediation of paper files and other media containing Private information.

Responsibilities

What are my responsibilities in the Private Information Management Initiative?

Your responsibilities as faculty or staff may be found here.

Scanning and Results

How will RIT scan my system?

Your computer is scanned by Identity Finder (IDF) software installed on your computer. The scans will be initiated from a central scanning server administered by the RIT Information Security Office. Identity Finder also allows you to initiate an on-demand scan. You do not have to be connected to the network to initiate an on-demand scan.

What do I do if the scan is slowing down my computer or I would like to pause it temporarily?

It's easy to Pause Identity Finder so that it doesn't impact your productivity significantly. Go to your system tray, right click on the Identity Finder icon (Ctrl-click for Mac) and choose Maximize. Then click on the Pause button. When you're ready to resume the scan, click on Resume.

What happens when Identity Finder finds Private information?

Identity Finder will generate an interactive report of suspected Private information matches and provide user-friendly tools to erase the information securely or remove the Private information (e.g. Social Security Number, Bank Account Number, Credit Card Number or Drivers License) from the files directly from the interactive report. You may also identify "false positives" by choosing "Ignore" within IDF. The Information Security Office will verify that the ignored files do not contain Private information.

I've completed a search and Identity Finder is asking me how to proceed. What should I do?

When Identity Finder completes its search, review the list of results to begin Shredding or Scrubbing Private Information and Ignoring "false positives."

How do I shred, scrub, or ignore a match?

You can choose shred, scrub, or ignore by right-clicking on the check box next to the entry and choosing from the options available. NOTE: not all options are available for all file types.  Process the entire list before closing Identity Finder.

What do I do if Identity Finder doesn't find Private information?

If Identity Finder completes its search and no Private Information is found, close Identity Finder.

I am unable to "shred" a file in Identity Finder. What should I do?

If you are unable to "shred" a file containing Private Information, you may not have permissions in Windows that allows Identity Finder to "shred" it. Contact the Help Desk and ask them to login to Identify Finder as admin and securely "shred" the file.

I am unable to "scrub" a file in Identity Finder. What should I do?

Identity Finder provides a scrub option for specific file types that may not work with all file types. If you need to retain an Office 2003 file on your computer but need to redact the Private information in the file you’ll need to follow a three-step process.
        1. Save a copy of the file in Office 2007 or 2010 format (.docx, xlsx, etc.)
        2. Use Identity Finder to scrub (redact) the Private information from the new file
        3. Use Identity Finder to shred the old file.

What do I do with Private information found on my system?

The RIT Information Security Office has created a Private Information Handling Quick Reference Table to assist you in determining how to handle Private information found on your computer or drives.

If you find Private information (e.g. Social Security Number, Bank Account Number, Credit Card Number or Drivers License) on your computer and are not sure whether it should be there, ask your Information Steward/Management Representative.

New York State law does not allow the retention of Social Security Numbers unless there is a clear business need for the information. In general, an RIT employee has a legitimate purpose for having access to the Social Security Numbers of another individual when such number is required for tax or billing purposes, credit authorizations, background checks, or in furtherance of submitting a federal or state governmental application that requires the transmission of an individual's Social Security Number. In addition, social security numbers shall be maintained when required by either court order, subpoena, or by direction of the Office of Legal Affairs.

What is redaction?

Unless required by RIT business processes, files must not contain Private information. Unnecessary information must be sanitized by redacting (removing) the Private information. It is not sufficient to simply obscure or hide the information. Although "redaction" has a broader meaning in editing, in the context of information handling it refers to the removal of information from a document.
If you are redacting a file before the Identity Finder scan, Adobe has provided a guide that instructs readers how to redact Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF files properly. The guide can be found here.

Why is Outlook prompting me for a new profile?

We’ve seen the following a few times
        1. Outlook is closed and you see the Identity Finder results screen.
        2. You try to open Outlook while the Identity Finder Results Screen is open.
        3. Outlook prompts you to create a new profile
    Solution
        1. Exit the Outlook setup wizard
        2. Process the results in the Identity Finder report
        3. Close Identity Finder
        4. Open Outlook

What if the only Private information the scan finds is mine?

Private information should not be stored on an RIT computer unless expressly permitted. (This information is typically found in copies of tax returns and filled-in forms.)

I’m seeing a Delete Database dialog box at the beginning of my Identity Finder session. The dialog box says that AnyFind technology has been updated and asks if I want to perform a full search. Should I answer Yes or No?

You should answer Yes. Identity Finder will conduct a full scan (including items previously ignored.) The scan length may be similar to your initial scan.

Non-Windows Computers

I have a non-Windows computer, will it be scanned?

Currently, only computers with the Microsoft Windows and Mac Operating System will be scanned by Identity Finder. We encourage you to examine the files on your computer and attached drives to identify Private information and handle it accordingly. For Linux, we recommend using Cornell's Spider. You may also work with your systems administrator to scan the Linux drive from Windows.

Questions

Whom do I contact with questions?

Please direct any questions regarding information handling or the Private Information Management Initiative to Infosec@rit.edu or contact your Information Steward/Management Representative.

Safe Social Networking and Blogging

Safe Social Networking and Blogging

Social networks are great. They do present some security challenges and risks, however.

This guide describes the dangers you face as a user of these websites, and provides tips on the safe use of social networking and blogging services.

Dangers of Social Networking

Many computer criminals uses these sites to distribute viruses and malware, to find private information people have posted publicly, and to find targets for phishing/social engineering schemes. Below is a short list of users who may be using the same sites as you:

Identity Thieves
Online criminals only need a few pieces of information to gain access to your financial resources. Phone numbers, addresses, names, and other personal information can be harvested easily from social networking sites and used for identity theft. The large numbers of people that use these sites also attract many online scammers.

Online Predators
Are your friends interested in seeing your class schedule online? Well, sex offenders or other criminals could be as well. Knowing your schedule and your whereabouts can make it very easy for someone to victimize you, whether it be breaking in while you're gone, or attacking you while you're out. Don't make it easy for the Facebook Stalker to find you!

Employers
More and more employers are beginning to investigate applicants and current employees through social networking sites and/or search engines. What you post online may put you in a negative light to prospective or current employers, especially if your profile picture features you doing something questionable or stupid.

Protecting Your Information - Safe Practices

Keeping your information out of the wrong hands can be fairly easy if you adopt a cautious attitude. Here are some tips to make sure your private information stays private.

Don't Post Personal Information Online!
It's the easiest way to keep your information private. Don't post your full birth date, your address, phone numbers, etc. Don't hesitate to ask friends to remove embarrassing or sensitive information about you from their posts either.

Use Built-In Privacy Settings
Most social networking sites offer various ways in which you can restrict public access to your profile, such only allowing your "friends" to view your profile. Of course, this only works if you only allow a few people to see your postings-if you have 10,000 "friends" your privacy won't be very well protected. Your best bet is to disable all the extra options, and re-enable only the ones you know you'll use. Sophos provides Recommended Facebook Privacy Settings. These best practices can be applied to any social networking or blogging website.

Be wary of others
Most sites do not have a rigorous process to verify identity of members so always be cautious when dealing with unfamiliar people online.

Search for yourself
Find out what information other people have easy access to. Put your name into Google (make sure to use quotes around your name). Try searching for your nicknames, phone numbers, and addresses as well-you might be surprised at what you find. Many blogging sites have instructions on how to exclude your posts from appearing in search engine results using something called a "robots text file." More information can be found here.

What Happens on the Web, Stays on the Web

Before posting anything online, remember the maxim "what happens on the web, stays on the web." Information on the Internet is public and available for anyone to see, and security is never perfect. With browser caching and server backups, there is a good chance that what you post will circulate on the web for years to come. So be safe and think twice about anything you post online.

Find out more about how information security affects you by becoming a Fan of the RIT Information Security Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter for updates on current security threats.

 

Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Scams and malware are not the only way criminals can steal identities. There are many ways for identity thieves to victimize you, damage your credit, steal important documents or information.

Read our Avoiding Identity Theft Online brochure to learn how to spot basic online scams and how to protect yourself.

Although online scams and malware have reached epidemic proportions, they are not the only way criminals can steal identities. Discarded bank statements, receipts, bills, etc. are also great sources for identity thieves. The Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft page provides more information on the different methods criminals use, and the precautions you should take.

Check out our Disposal Recommendations to find the best way to dispose of any media that might contain your personal information.

Students

The U.S. Department of Education has created their MISUSED website as a resource for college students and identity theft. You can learn about how scholastic identity theft occurs, how to reduce your risk, and what you should do if you discover you're a victim. They also offer several resources for identifying scholarship scams and finding legitimate financial aid.

The Sallie Mae college loan corporation also offers advice on how to guard against identity theft.

Victims

If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, take action immediately. Contact any credit card issuers and financial institutions with whom you have an account to temporarily freeze all transactions. Contact the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to have them flag your file with a fraud alert. This will require any credit grantor to verify your permission before taking action in your name.

More on Identity Theft

 

Subscribe to RSS - Identity