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University of Connecticut University Information Technology Services Identity Finder

Searching For PII

Identity Finder assists in finding personally identifiable information and providing you with the ability to easily and quickly remove it. You can search many areas of your computer for private information and take action to secure it.

  1. Searching for Sensitive Data
    1. Search Method Types
    2. Search for Sensitive Data Identities
    3. Search Location
  2. Evaluating Results
    1. False Positive
    2. True Positive
  3. Protecting Personal Information Procedure

  1. Searching for Sensitive Data
  2. Identity Finder allows you to search for sensitive information that exists on your desktop computer. Before you can search for this information, you must,

    • select the search method type
    • select the sensitive data identities of the information you want to find
    • select the locations that you want to search

    Once the searching method, identity types, and locations are defined, the search can be initiated. The results of the search are listed by type and location as they are found by Identity Finder. When the search is complete, the personal information can be secured by implementing a method that is most appropriate for how you want to protect the information. These methods include,

    • shredding (deleting)
    • scrubbing (redacting)
    • securing (encrypting)
    • guaranteeing (moving the information to a more secure area)


    Search Method Types

    The searching methods available in Identity Finder are briefly explained here. In this example procedure, MultiFind will be used.

    • Searching with AnyFind
      AnyFind allow you to search for Identity Types without having to provide any specific personal information
    • Searching with OnlyFind
      OnlyFind allows you to search for only an individual's personal information instead of any person's information.
    • Searching with MultiFind
      MultiFind allows you to search for various Identity Types together in a single location. MultiFind requires Identity Types to be dependent on each other.

    Search for Sensitive Data Identities

    You can customize what you want to search for by selecting options on the Identities ribbon. This ribbon allows you to protect sensitive information about you that can be used to give someone unauthorized access to a website, E-Mail, credit card, or allows someone to open a bank account in your name. Identity Finder helps you find the following Identity Types:


    Search Location

    You can customize what you want to search for by selecting options on the Locations ribbon. This ribbon allows you to choose Locations on your computer to find personal information. These locations include:

  3. Evaluating Results
  4. False Positive

    When Identity Finder scan results locate a “false positive” (information with a format that resembles a legitimate PII), the information does not indicate a security issue and can be safely processed by selecting Ignore.

    True Positive

    When Identity Finder finds a “true positive” (legitimate PII), the information can be processed in one of the following ways:

    • Scrub (redact)
    • Shred (delete file)
    • Ignore (keep the file)
    • Quarantine (move the information to another location)

    Use the following flowchart to evaluate your PII.

  5. Protecting Personal Information Procedure
  6. In this example for using Identity Finder, the MultiFind method will be used to find Social Security Numbers, Credit Card Numbers on files that reside in any areas of your computer. The files will be found and the information “scrubbed” from the file.

    1. To view or modify MultiFind settings, click Configuration, click the Settings button, and then click MultiFind.
    2. Multi-Find Screen

    3. Check the Enable Multifind checkbox and click Add. The New MultiFind dialog box is displayed.

      New Multi-Find dialog box

    4. Type a name in the Name field and click OK.

      Name Field

    5. In the AnyFind pull-down
    6. Select Social Security Number
    7. Check the Always required checkbox
    8. Click the Add button.
    9. Then select Credit Card Number
    10. Check the Always required checkbox
    11. Click the Add button.

      AnyFind screen
    12. Click OK.
    13. From the Locations menu
    14. Click the Files button.
    15. When enabled, the button will be highlighted orange. Identity Finder will search for files in the File Location you specify.

    16. Note: When searching for file locations, it is recommended that the default value be used. This value searches for all files.


      Locations Menu
    17. Once the search parameters have been customized,
    18. Click the Startbutton on the Main menu
    19. Identity Finder will begin searching the locations you selected.




    20. Note: You may interact with the results as they are displayed or wait until Identity Finder has completed its search.

      Note: You may temporarily pause a search in progress by clicking the Pause button on the Main ribbon. The Pause button is in the same place as the Start button and is automatically changed from Start to Pause when a search begins. Once you click Pause, it will change into a Resume button.



      Note: To resume your search, click the Resume button.


    21. The Status Window provides a real-time summary of your current search and is composed of the Current Status Summary, Locations Searched Summary, and Identity MatchesSummarygroups as well as the Worldwide Identity Matches Summary group, if enabled.
    22. To view the status window,
    23. Click the Status Window button on the Main ribbon; otherwise continue to Step 10.

      Status Window

    24. The Search Results Pane is a reporting table that provides views of the search results. It contains all the information about the results of your search and allows you to analyze and protect any sensitive data. Refer to the User Guide for more information on Viewing Search Results.

      Results Pane


    25. To save your results, click the Save icon in the Quick Access menu or in the Application menu. The default save type is Identity Finder Format, a more secure format that you can use to work with your results at any point in the future. When you are ready to work with your saved results, you will need to open the file in Identity Finder. Click Save and select the folder location and filename for your results. You will see the Options button on the bottom right of this dialog. This allows you to choose what to include in your saved file and allows you to omit information depending on what type of file you are saving.

      Save File Screen

    26. When your search has found a file with a social security number or credit card number, and you want to keep the file but remove the personal information only, utilize the Scrub feature, also known as Redact. Single click the result item with the left mouse button to highlight it and then click the Scrub button on the Main ribbon.

      Note: Scrubbing (redacting) information is typically done to file records that must be retained for various reasons, i.e., for compliance or reporting requirements.


      Scrub screen

      The file with sensitive personal information has been identified, the information has been redacted, and the procedure is complete.