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Tech Tips

Protect Yourself and AU Data

If you store sensitive AU or personal data on your computer, you could be providing identity thieves with information for a crime.

As an AU client, you are obligated to protect not just your personal data, but also any AU data to which you have access.

The FTC publishes guidelines for preventing identity theft at, the key principles to deter thieves are:

  • protect your information
  • monitor accounts
  • defend against problems ASAP

New protection tool available from OIT

OIT has licensed MyIDProtector software to help identify and protect personal information stored on Windows XP or Vista computers. Students, faculty and staff can install it from the “Download Software” page of the portal to scan personal computer, USB, and network drives for sensitive data.

MyIDProtector scans your computer for files that appear to contain sensitive data—possible bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers; mailing addresses; and phone numbers. Credit card and social security numbers alone are not a risk, but one of those combined with a full name could lead to identity theft.

After scanning your computer, the software displays a report with the names and locations of the flagged files. This report is sent only to you, not to OIT or anyone else.

Your responsibility, OIT recommends

You are responsible for taking action to protect sensitive information stored on your computer. For example:

  • Delete files with sensitive data if there is no longer a business need for them.
  • Store files with sensitive data that must be kept on your G drive, or on the I drive if others department members will need access.
  • Lock your computer screen if you walk away, and require a password to begin using it again. To set a password in Windows XP, use the Screen Saver tab of Display Properties
  • Encrypt your hard drive to protect your information. Encryption is a simple process that encodes your computer information so only your Windows password will decrypt it.
  • Request a security consultation with IT to learn about security measures, such as whether hard drive encryption is right for you.

Please contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, e-mail or on instant messenger at AskAmericanUHelp for assistance and further information.

Installation instructions for MyIDProtector are listed under Hot Topics at

Check for outages and scheduled maintenance on AU systems at