Identity Finder

Identity Finder Project

The Identity Finder Project is an Office of Information Technology (OIT) campus-wide initiative mandated by the CSU Chancellor's Office. Identity Finder is a tool used to find Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that matches data such as Social Security Number (SSN) or Credit Card Number (CCN) format. In today's world organizations must make all reasonable efforts to ensure the security of the data they maintain. Certain data, such as PII, require more stringent safeguards than other types of data.

Identity Finder assists in preventing identity theft and provides the ability to easily and quickly protect data before it is stolen. The Office of Information Technology will provide the tools, procedures and reporting necessary to help faculty, staff, and student assistants discover all of the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that may be stored in computer drives. OIT will also provide options to secure such information.

Identity Finder User Guides

Identity Finder Training Video

There are several ways that Stanislaus State faculty, staff and student assistants can engage in this process.

  1. Installation: If Identity Finder is not installed on your desktop please contact the Technology Support Desk for assistance with the installation.
  2. Self-Remediation: Follow the instructions provided to run Identity Finder on your desktop and remediate any locally stored Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  3. OIT Technical Staff Remediation: Contact the Technology Support Desk and schedule an appointment to run Identity Finder on your desktop and remediate any locally stored PII.

Why is it important to take such initiative?

With data breaches frequently making the news, it has become very important to take proactive actions to protect CSU information assets.

  • Unencrypted PII is sometimes stored on desktops.
  • Duplicate copies of sensitive data are often found on multiple systems.
  • Users, when assigned a new computer, usually transfer data regardless of their role change within the CSU.
  • Archived PII is usually not securely deleted.

What are the Identity Finder project goals?

The project would seek and identify sensitive information on Stanislaus State-owned information using Identity Finder.

  • OIT will use a file scanning application called Identity Finder, for all faculty, staff and any student assistants who may have PII.
  • The purpose of Identity Finder is to identify PII only.  It does not perform an inventory of software or software licenses, or evaluate data in any way.  Any data outside the scope of PII is ignored. Data that is within the scope of Identity Finder includes: Social Security Numbers (SSN), Credit Card Numbers (CCN), Bank Accounts, Date of Birth, Driver License numbers, Passport  numbers, and Passwords.

When PII is found, for remediation, the application:

  • Deletes the document containing PII if it is not needed  
  • If the document is needed, removes only sensitive fields (e.g., replace 111-11-1111 with xxx-xx-xxxx)
  • If retention of the PII is required, stores the PII safely on professionally managed, central file storage that meets the requirements of the CSU Office of the Chancellor Information Security Management. When essential for intensive local use, PII may be stored on desktops or laptops that meet the required, enhanced security standards.

The project will also help in data classification and retention in consultation with data owners.

What is the project scope?

The project scope covers all information asset (computers, servers or storage space), and has two main tasks:

  1. Scanning that may take a few minutes to many hours, depending on the amount of information stored on the device.
  2. Reviewing and resolving the scan results which will include:
    • The dismissal of false positives
    • The remediation of true positives through file deletion, the removal of the PII from the file, or storing the file with PII on an OIT-approved file server

The remediation of PII will be done on all Stanislaus State-owned computers.

Contact OIT

For more information, or for assistance with a replacement computer, please contact the Technology Support Desk:


Phone: (209) 667-3687

In-Person: First floor of the library, Rm. L150 (See Library Map)