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Information Security Office


Identity Finder

Identity Finder is a software application that is licensed to UT Arlington for use on all University owned computers. Identity Finder can be used to identify and locate sensitive data such as social security numbers, credit card information, and a variety of other personally identifiable information on your computer, network (such as the J: drive), or even external media like CDs, DVDs, or USB drives. Once the data is located Identity Finder has a number of built-in and integrated features to assist the user in removing and/or securing the information.

What is sensitive information

As per UT System policy UTS165, sensitive data is digital data maintained by the University that requires higher than normal security measures to protect it from unauthorized access, modification or deletion. Sensitive data may be either public or confidential and is defined by the Univerisyt based on compliance with applicable federal or state law or on the demonstrated need to (a) document the integrity of that digital data (i.e., that the Data had not been altered by either intent or accident), (b) restrict and document individuals with access to that digital data, and (c) ensure appropriate backup and retention of that digital data. It is a recommended best practice to keep all sensitive data off of your computer hard drive.

How to get Identity Finder

The majority of the campus will already have the current version of Identity Finder installed on their computer because their computer is a part of the UTA Windows domain. The software must be manually installed on all non-domain Windows computers and Mac computers. Use the following links to download and install the software if it is not already installed on your computer.

How to use Identity Finder

There are a few simple steps to use Identity Finder.

  1. Prior to running Identity Finder
    • Due to the fact that the process of removing sensitive data may involve permanent deletion of files containing such data, it is recommended that users back up all data.
    • Although it is possible to scan for sensitive information while working in other applications, it is recommended to close all web browsers so that the application can provide the best search results.
  2. Start Identity Finder and launch a scan
    • Windows - launch the program by going to Start menu > All Programs > Identity Finder > Identity Finder.
    • Mac - Click on the Identity Finder icon in the Applications folder.
    • After the application has started click on the green start button.
    • Identity Finder will begin scanning for sensitive information.
  3. Manage search findings 
    • When Identity Finder finishes its scan, a pop-up will be displayed to alert you that the scan has finished and that your results are ready to be reviewed. The list will include files and emails that may contain sensitive information. However not all results will actually be sensitive information. Therefore, each result must be reviewed.
    • When you highlight a file in the list, a preview of that file will appear on the right. The possible sensitive number match will be highlighted in the preview, and you will see the other information surrounding that possible match, such as the file where the possible match is located, the type of possible match as displayed by an icon, the actual possible match, and the total number of possible matches in that single file.
    • If you are unsure as to whether or not you should keep a file, speak with your supervisor or contact the Office of Records and Information Management for further clarification. 
    • Once you have selected one or several files or emails (using the checkboxes on the far left of the list), choose which action you would like to take from the actions menu above:
      • Shred – Removes the complete file or email from your computer, using a secure United States Department of Defense standard. Note: Shredding is PERMANENT. You CANNOT retrieve files that have been shredded!
      • Scrub - Removes the highlighted data from the file while keeping all other data in the file intact. Scrubbing does not work on emails.
      • Recycle – Removes files from your computer that you no longer need, but does not do so in a secure manner. Use only on files that do not contain sensitive data.
      • Ignore – Adds this item to a list of identity matches that you do not want Identity Finder to search anymore. It functions as an approved exception list.

For more information see the Identity Finder FAQ, Windows User Guide, Mac User Guide or contact the UT Arlington Helpdesk at 817.272.2208.