Software Tools

Introduction: University departments must act
Importance of protecting SSNs and other PNPI
Guidelines for protecting PNPI
Software Tools
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., sharing of 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 Numbers?
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 information.

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 to surplus?
Before sending a computer to University Surplus, you should wipe its hard disk completely.

  • Windows Directions
    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 expert users.
  • Macintosh Directions