New Information Security Program Will Protect Personal Data

Image representing computer security
Image representing computer security

UConn is implementing a new program known as “Identity Finder,” which will locate then remove or protect personal data belonging to students, faculty, staff, or others at the University.

The program is part of a broader initiative to improve data management and prevent security breaches.

The process of finding and eliminating personal data will be ongoing and will be completed in phases. The University Information Security Office will begin using Identity Finder to scan public University websites in the next few weeks. UITS will work with any departments or offices where possibly unsecured data is found to either remove or protect it.

Subsequent phases will focus on scanning desktop computers, laptops, file servers, and other systems that store data and will require faculty and staff to download the software. Identity Finder is available for download and installation now for all UConn faculty and staff, here.

The University Information Security Office has created a web page to distribute information about Identity Finder, answer common questions about the software, and provide links to download the software.

An information session about the Identity Finder software and the University’s initiative to protect personal information is also scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 in the Student Union Ballroom (Room 330).

“Identity Finder is used at peer higher education institutions and is known for being easy to use and accurate in locating personally-identifiable information,” says Jason Pufahl, chief information security officer at UConn. “Our sole purpose in adopting this system is to make sure that the University understands where personal information is stored and that it is adequately protected or removed.”

The decision to use Identify Finder follows data security breaches at the University that occurred because data was not handled as securely as it should have been. In addition to potentially exposing personal data, managing breaches is costly to the University and its programs. Significant time, resources, and effort must be expended to investigate the incidents, notify affected individuals, and pay for credit monitoring and other services to protect them from potential identity theft.

“Unauthorized access to electronically stored data is a leading cause of identity theft,” says Pufahl. “The Identity Finder software is part of a larger security initiative that includes the implementation of SafeConnect software that helps ensure that devices that connect to the University network meet certain security requirements.”

The Information Security Office also provides online security awareness training, available in HuskyCT to all University faculty, staff, and student employees.