Cyber Security Tuesday: Personally Identifiable Information

What is PII? It stands for Personally Identifiable Information, and we all have an obligation to protect it. Generally, this information includes your name, address, phone number, birthdate, SSN, and credit card numbers. These can, in the hands of cybercriminals, lead to identity theft, security breaches, or monetary loss, all of which are crimes that state and federal agencies are trying to prevent. Any college employee, including student employees, are obligated by law to protect this information.

One easy way to do this is to save any documents containing this information to the college server and NOT to a desktop or laptop. Desktops can be hacked into, and laptops can be stolen. By saving to your private or department folder, you are guaranteed that your PII is safe. Also, use VPN software to access the network from off-campus.

Now that you know how to identify phishing emails and the importance of keeping your Personally Identifiable Information safe, it’s important that you know more about the ways to prevent this information from falling into the wrong hands.

Do not store PII on removable hard drives or cell phones. Lists or notes containing passwords, bank account numbers, and SSN’s are especially bad, as they are extremely easy to find if your phone was lost or stolen.

Don’t put your social security number or other PII on a report or document unless it is absolutely necessary. Further, all cell phones should be password protected, and any documents containing PII on removable media should be encrypted and/or password protected. Click the links to find out how to do this for Word and Excel documents.

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Posted in Digital Citizenship, Home Page

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