What is sensitive information?
Stolen information can result in identity theft and compromise. Unprotected information can be stolen from anywhere. It can be taken when you least expect it. Sensitive information is not limited to social security or credit card numbers. It also includes:
- Student information and grades
- Human resource data
- Financial data
- Private research data
- Other types of personal information
What can you do to keep information safe
Make sure you are following safe computing guidelines as listed throughout this site. Here are a few additional things you can do to keep sensitive information secure.
- Avoid Accidental Exposure
- Do not keep unnecessary records: Always know what personal information is required to complete any transaction. Never ask for or supply more than is necessary.
- Close sensitive documents and applications and lock your workstation screen when you leave, no matter how briefly.
- Do not write down password or other sensitive information and leave them on your desk.
- Put away and secure all documents with sensitive information immediately.
- Do not take the easy way out: Never bypass security protocols for an easier way or an old habit. Future consequences can far outweigh the few seconds you may save.
- Avoid Improper handling: Everyone capable of accessing sensitive information should be made aware of its importance and be trained in handling it.
- Avoid Forgetfulness: Be aware of the location of any sensitive information at all times. See Identity Finder below for help with finding sensitive information on your computer.
- Encrypt high risk file
- When storing or sharing a high risk file, you should first encrypt the file so that you don't disclose private information in ways that may harm yourself or someone else.
- Faculty and Staff: see below for tools to help you locate sensitive information on your computer
- Share a high risk file safely
- Read our Keeping High Risk Files Safe tipsheet for proper procedures.
- Avoid theft and misuse of laptop and other portable devices (CD, flash drives, cell phone)
- Password protect your laptop to discourage theft, and consider investing in one of the many physical laptop locks on the market.
- Keep your laptop yours. Only loan your laptop to those you trust; whatever spyware, viruses or illegal content that end up on your laptop will be yours to deal with.
- Wipe your hard drive before recycling or disposing of an old computer. Students, faculty, and staff may have a hard drive wiped by sending an email to HELP@wpunj.edu. Someone will reply with a date, time, and location for you to drop off your hard-drive. You may not drop off the entire computer.
You might also consider using free disk-wiping software such as Darik's Boot and Nuke or Active@ Kill Disk. These are both available from download.com.
University efforts to secure information
IT Services and William Paterson University are taking significant steps to protect the security of your personal information, most notably your Social Security number, against the possibility of unauthorized access that could result in identity theft or other misuse of that information. The University is implementing several short-term and long-term plans for greater security of University members' SSNs, including the creation of a new "WPUID", a number that will be included on student and employee WPU Cards and that will serve as the primary University identifier. Additionally, IT Services and the University are taking steps to ensure that individual departments within the University adopt procedures that more tightly secure sensitive information.