Introduction: University departments must act
Importance of protecting SSNs and other PNPI
Guidelines for protecting PNPI
For more information
Questions or comments
Copyright © 2005, University of Delaware
Last updated: 12/2/05
| Many different software tools are available that can help you safeguard
PNPI stored on a computer. The tools listed here are organized by the
task that they help you perform.
How do I encrypt files that contain PNPI?
As a general rule, PNPI should not be stored on a "local"
computer. However, in some circumstances (e.g., a faculty
member who keeps grade records in Excel worksheets), it is
necessary to do so. In those cases, you should follow the
directions linked below to encrypt the files that contain PNPI.
- Encrypt Sensitive Data Using AxCrypt (link to directions for Windows users for
using AxCrypt, free software that has additional features [e.g.,
encrypted files, easier encryption for Windows users whose
computers are attached to a Windows domain, etc.])
- Encrypt Sensitive Data (link to directions for using the Windows and Macintosh
operating systems' "native encryption")
- How do I find computer files that contain Social Security
There is not a foolproof method of finding all the files on your
computer that contain SSNs. However, you can use the tools
below to look for key phrases or strings of characters to assist
you as you search your computer files.
- How do I share an encrypted file with someone else or
with a government agency?
You can share files with other people by using the University's
"drop box service." If you encrypt a file
using AxCrypt before uploading it to
the University's drop box server and share the key with the file's
intended recipient in a separate communication, you can use the
drop box to make a secure file transfer of confidential
How do I completely eradicate the files I delete?
When you move a file into your computer's "trash folder" or "recycle
bin" and "empty" the trash or recycle bin, the
information is not actually removed from your computer's hard
disk until another program writes new information to the space
where the "recycled" file's information besides.
The links below will show you how to erase the information from
your computer's hard drive immediately.
How do I clean a computer's disk drive before sending it
Before sending a computer to University Surplus, you should
wipe its hard disk completely.
The software that the University
suggests your department use for Windows computers is called
"dban." Novice or intermediate users
should NOT run this software on their own. It should only be run by departmental CITAs or other