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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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One Step Ahead: Almanac Security Tips - 2014

In each issue, Penn's Journal of Record, The Almanac publishes helpful tips and hints for dealing with information security and privacy matters. This page is a collection of all those published thus far.
New! You can now receive new One-Step-Ahead Security and Privacy Tips automatically!
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Table of Contents (view all)

Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability
Security and Privacy Tips for World Travelers
Filing Taxes Online This Year? Take Steps to Protect Your Information!
If your computer runs Windows XP, you must update it now!
Why Should You Report Security Incidents? And How Do You Report One?
Photo and Video Privacy Issues
The Password is Dead, Long Live the Password!
Data Privacy Month: NSA Surveillance Panel at the National Constitution Center
Protecting Your Finances During This Yearís Holiday Shopping Season
Beware of Phishing E-mails in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan
No E-mail from Penn Will Ask For Your Username/Password or SSN
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act: Does It Apply to Your Website?
October: National Cyber Security Awareness Month; Free Secure Disposal of Paper and Electronics
What Basic Rules Protect Student Information at Penn? (September 2013)
Protecting Privacy and Security on Penn + Box

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Tagged with SSNs , privacy

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - Almanac Vol. 53, No. 33

SSN cleanup tools - use them and protect the Penn community

Youíve read about the hundreds of colleges, universities, retailers, banks, and others that have had data security breaches - hacked systems, lost laptops, stolen backup tapes and the like - involving Social Security numbers. You worry about this type of problem because:

  • You canít be sure whether you still have old SSNs in any of your desktop or server files, OR
  • You think you need full SSNs to interface with other systems on campus, OR
  • You need some type of identifier to make sure youíve got the right "John Smith" and SSN is the best one out there, OR
  • You donít need to use SSNs, and you know you have some old ones, but you donít know how to truly delete them.
  • You actually do need to work with SSNs (legally required or necessary for certain third-party transactions, for example), but want to handle them responsibly.

Know the following:

  • Finding SSNs. Your local support provider can assist you in using automated tools to determine if a file containing SSNs is still on your desktop, laptop, or server. Contact your LSP.
  • Keeping SSNs to Interface with Other Systems? †Check Again. Many systems at Penn have been reconfigured to accept PennID in lieu of the SSN as a unique identifier (also sometimes a "key"). Contact the relevant system owner, or Data Administration at
  • Converting SSNs to PennID. A new, free tool exists to convert files containing full SSNs to PennIDs. Contact the Office of Audit, Compliance, and Privacy at (215) 573-4492.
  • Deleting Unnecessary SSNs. Talk to your LSP for options.
  • Truncate/Restrict View Wherever Possible. If all else fails and you must continue to work with SSNs, truncate to show only the last four digits in as many "views" as possible. Truncating SSNs and limiting access to only those people with a need to know are important ways to minimize risk.

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