Data Discovery, Classification and Clean-Up

Chancellor’s Memo About Private Data

See the Chancellor’s memo:  Storage of Private Data

Data Discovery
IT "SensorSweep" Scans for Private Data

The Information Technology department at UCCS uses a program it developed specifically to scan for Social Security numbers (SSNs) and Credit Card numbers (CC #s) on University-owned computers.  If you are an employee, and have a legitimate business need to have SSNs or CC #s, please contact the UCCS IT Security Principal to arrange for secure storage of the private data.  Otherwise, if private data has been found on your computer, the IT Security Principal will be contacting you to remove the data.

Spider Software Instructions and Information

You personally can scan for SSNs or CC#s on your computer using a free program called Spider.  Spider is an application written at Cornell University with the specific purpose of searching computers for sensitive data.  Spider searches through the content of all files looking for matches to the criteria it is given.  With the permission of Cornell, ITS has repackaged and redistributed Spider with a custom default configuration.

System Requirements: Windows XP, Vista, 7 with .NET 1.1 or greater. Mac, Linux

Information Classification


Data Cleanup

Questions to ask yourself once you have found sensitive data:
Private Data Cleanup Quick Reference Table

Steps to clean up the data once you have found sensitive data:
Tips for Cleaning Data Found by Spider or SensorSweep

Also, you will need to delete temporary files and cookies.  To do this while in Internet Explorer:

  • Go to Tools
  • Select Internet Options
  • Under the Browsing History section, click Delete
  • Click Delete All (at the bottom of the pop-up screen).

NOTE:  This will also delete any passwords you have told your computer to store for you.  Saving passwords is a very insecure practice, and is not recommended .  Refer to Protecting Your Passwords for more information.

You also need to delete any .tmp files that may still be on your hard disk.  To do this in Windows:

  • Go to Start
  • Search
  • In the box called, "Search for files or folders named:" enter an asterisk followed by a period followed by "tmp".  It should look like this:  *.tmp 
  • Click "Search Now"
  • In the Search Results window, go to Edit, and click Select All.  Then hit the Delete key  All the files that are shown should have *.tmp at the end of the filename.  Select all those files and then hit the Delete key.  Continue selecting and deleting until all files are deleted that the system allows you to delete.  Do not delete any file that says it is a system file when it asks you if you really want to delete the file. 
  • Don’t forget to empty your Recycle Bin once you are done deleting files.

Contact your IT Security Principal if you have any questions about the cleanup process.