Data security crimes jumped by 47 percent from 2007 to 2008.

Data security crimes jumped by 47 percent from 2007 to 2008.

College students have to know which data are most vulnerable before they can protect their Social Security numbers, passwords, and online banking personal identification numbers. The creators of a new software program that fights identity theft say it can do just that—and some of the most respected universities are listening.

Identity Finder, a tool now marketed free of charge to college students, thoroughly scans a computer’s internet browser, files, eMail, attachments, and a range of other programs to find information that would prove most vulnerable to hackers.

The program isolates these bits of information and gives students options for how to secure each item: removing them piece by piece, scrubbing irrelevant data, or encrypting sensitive files for safe storage.

Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Indiana, and Notre Dame are among the universities that use Identity Finder’s Enterprise version to prevent—or least mitigate—hacker attacks that bring headaches for students and campus IT officials.

This week, Identity Finder announced that it would make the Home edition of its software available to college students free of charge—reportedly an $80 value.

Still, higher-education technology decision makers said many college students wouldn’t use a program designed to protect against identity theft, despite the prevalence of nightmarish privacy violation stories in media reports…

Read the full story on eCampus News.